Most Americans have now had Covid-19 – but experts predict the next surge

For many who are vaccinated or have already been infected, learning of close contact with the disease is less frightening than frustrating.

The tests are increasingly normal. The masks are less and less visible.

In the United States, children aged 6 months to 5 years could be eligible for vaccines by June, a huge relief for many parents. Many more may not have their young children vaccinated. Just above a third of children aged 5 to 11 are fully immunized.
Over the next few weeks, the United States will likely record its 1 millionth report. Death from covid-19a number so staggering that it seems unbelievable.

There is a slight increase in cases in the United States and hospitalizations have increased by 10% since last week. Hopefully the death rate continues to drop.

Most Americans have had Covid-19

According to data through February published by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 60% of adults and 75% of children have antibodies indicating that they have been infected with Covid-19.

The data comes from an ongoing study of blood samples sent to commercial labs across the United States.

By early December, an estimated 34% of Americans had antibodies, suggesting the Omicron variant has infected a quarter of the population.

We can assume that Covid-19 will resurface

The warning from Dr Deborah Birx – the coordinator of the White House coronavirus response task force during the Trump era, who has come out with a new book – is that we can expect increase in cases to the south in summer and to the north in winter.

During an appearance on CBS News on Sunday, Birx pointed to a further rise in Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

“Each of these flare-ups is about four to six months apart. That tells me that natural immunity wanes enough in the general population after four to six months – that a large flare-up is going to happen again,” Birx said.

Public health officials need to prepare the public, she said, and make sure everyone knows that immunity, from infection or vaccination, wanes over time.

You have to go beyond “fully vaccinated” to be “up to date”

Even though public health officials are pushing most people to get vaccinated months after vaccination, they haven’t updated the definition of “fully vaccinated” to include a booster.

While more than three quarters of the country have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, less than a third received a reminder.

For that reason, officials have moved away from that term — “fully immunized” — and instead encourage people to stay “up to date,” which means getting a booster when they’re eligible.

According to CDC dataHere are the vaccination numbers:
  • 77.6% of Americans have received at least one dose, or nearly 258 million people.
  • 66.2% received the second dose and are considered “fully immunized” according to the CDC.
  • 45.8% of those fully vaccinated received their first booster doses. (According to CNN measurements, a much lower percentage — about 30% — of the total population received a booster.)
More boosters may be needed. In March, the CDC authorized a second booster dose Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for people over 50 who are four months past their first booster doses.

The longest-lasting immunity is in people who are up to date on their vaccines and who have been infected before.

Many doctors always say to keep up to date with vaccines because they are licensed by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

“We still need to push forward with these vaccines to provide the highest level of protection possible,” emergency physician Dr. Anand Swaminathan told CNN over the weekend.

He argued that we still don’t know much about the disease and that long-lasting cases of Covid are worth avoiding.

What exactly is Long Covid?

A new must-read CNN report by Jacqueline Howard looks at Linda Timmer, 64, who had no traditional symptoms of Covid-19 and was unaware of having been exposed to the coronavirus when she tested positive in August 2020.

Her long Covid case pushed her into early retirement and closer to her family – and 20 months later she still has debilitating symptoms.

Howard also spoke to Nick Guthe, whose wife, Heidi Ferrer, died by suicide after Covid had long made life excruciating.

It’s poorly understood and difficult to diagnose, but symptoms can last for months.

Transition to what?

Many states are recalling their Covid-19 data tracking efforts from daily reports to weekly reports, CNN’s Deidre McPhillips wrote last week, which could affect how well public health officials are able to assess and predict outbreaks.

In the same report, McPhillips noted that the United States is transitioning from the pandemic phase of the Covid-19 era, but there is disagreement over what the United States is transitioning into.

She wrote: The rise of the BA.2 subvariant and the general unpredictability of the coronavirus leaves the future of the pandemic – and the resources needed to fight it – largely unknown.

“Things are not stable right now,” said William Hanage, epidemiologist and associate professor at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “Even though I don’t think we’ll see [another] big increase, weekly reports mean if I’m wrong we’ll find out later so we can do less.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, had to recalibrate the comments he made last week when he said the United States was almost out of the pandemic.

“We haven’t overcome the pandemic. Don’t let anyone misinterpret that the pandemic is over, but we are in a different phase of the pandemic,” Fauci said. “A phase that is a transitional phase, which hopefully heads towards more control where you can actually return to some form of normalcy without total disruption to society, economically, socially, academically, etc.”

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