The United States Faces New Wave of Covid, Approaching Peak Levels of 2020
The United States is currently experiencing a surge in Covid cases, with infection rates reaching levels similar to those seen during the first peak of the pandemic in 2020. This alarming information has been revealed by the US government’s wastewater monitoring agencies, Biobot Analytics, and forecasting model expert Jay Weiland. According to Weiland’s projections, approximately 650,000 Americans are getting infected every day, and about one citizen in 51 is currently infected. Furthermore, it is predicted that an additional 7-10% of the population will fall ill in the next month.
What’s particularly concerning for doctors and virologists are the increasing hospitalizations and deaths caused by Covid. Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that from August 27 to September 2, the number of hospitalizations increased by 9%, and there was a 5% increase in deaths during the week of September 3 to 9.
To combat this resurgence, American public health officials and the American Medical Association are strongly urging the population to get vaccinated, not only against Covid but also against influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts a challenging autumn-winter season characterized by the presence of these three respiratory viruses. Last year, this combination, known as the “tripledemia,” infected millions of Americans and resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 people during the cold winter months.
To address this, the CDC is recommending updated vaccines for all citizens aged 6 months and older. The goal is to protect everyone, from children to the elderly and vulnerable. While the updated Novavax formula is awaiting approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, Moderna and Pfizer’s updated vaccines have already been authorized. Experts have stated that these new vaccines are designed to provide adequate protection against not only the current variants but also against the highly mutated Omicron progeny, such as the Pirola variant.
In Italy, opinions on the US decision to vaccinate the entire population aged 6 months and older are divided among experts. Massimo Andreoni, scientific director of the Italian Society of Infectious and Tropical Diseases (Simit) and professor of Infectious Diseases at the Tor Vergata University of Rome, believes that the CDC’s recommendation is correct as it aims to provide protection to the entire population and reduce the risk of long Covid. However, Matteo Bassetti, director of infectious diseases at the San Martino Polyclinic in Genoa, disagrees with the widespread vaccination approach. He believes the focus should be on vaccinating those aged 70-75 and above and those who are frail or immunocompromised.
Other experts, such as virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco from the University of Milan, emphasize the importance of a targeted vaccination campaign. This campaign should prioritize those at the highest risk, including the elderly, frail individuals, and healthcare workers.
As the autumn-winter recall campaign gets underway, the goal is to protect as many people as possible and reduce the severity and spread of these respiratory viruses. The hope is that through widespread vaccination efforts, the infection rates and complications from these viruses will be significantly reduced, creating a safer and healthier environment for all.