The United States could see a significant increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths this fall and winter unless the country prepares and takes action, according to public health experts from the Biden administration.
Last week, administration officials told reporters at a background briefing that some disease models predict that the United States could see 100 million coronavirus infections this winter, although there is a wide range of options. The noted forecast suggested that omicron subvariants continued to dominate the country, rather than a drastically different option that potentially worsened the outlook.
IN Sunday’s interview on ABC’s This week, White House Response Coordinator COVID-19 Ashish Ja reiterated the winter jump warning, noting that every pandemic winter so far includes big jumps and conditions will be basic for another this season. Protection from first and even second boosters will be reduced by this fall. Meanwhile, the virus will continue to develop new variants and sub-variants, and people will congregate indoors during cold weather and holidays at the end of the year.
“We are looking at a number of models, both internal and external,” Ja said. “And what they’re predicting is that if we don’t get ahead of this thing, we’ll have a lot of weakened immunity, this virus is still evolving, and we could see a pretty big wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths this fall and winter.”
Ja noted that current sub-variants of omicron are particularly good at bypassing vaccine protection to cause mild infections in people who are up to date with their vaccines. The country is currently experiencing an increase in cases managed by BA.2 and a newer sub-option BA.2.12.1, with the largest increase in cases in the north-eastern part of the country.
“We are not witnessing a huge jump in deaths because the population is so well vaccinated and stimulated [in the Northeast]”This is not true for the whole country,” he added, noting fears that the South would be more affected by the increase in cases due to relatively lower levels of vaccination and boosters. “So we need to keep giving up more people vaccinated and reinforced. We need to put in more therapy. If we have the resources to do all this, I think we can survive this winter without much suffering and death.”
The White House recently called for $ 22.5 billion in emergency aid to cover booster doses of COVID-19 this fall, as well as therapeutic tools, tests and other resources related to the pandemic. Last month, Senate leaders came up with a $ 10 billion bipartisan agreement to alleviate COVID-19, which does not include funding for international pandemic aid. However, Republican lawmakers blocked the reduced funding package, withholding support unless they are guaranteed a vote on an amendment to expand Title 42, a Trump-era policy that allows immigrants to be excluded from the board for reasons of public health.
But funding is not the only obstacle to preparing to jump this fall and winter; misinformation is also a significant obstaclesaid Food and Medicine Commissioner Robert Calif in an interview with CNN on Saturday. Disinformation continues to harass the country, preventing people from getting vaccinated, reinforcing and taking the necessary health precautions, Caliph said.
“Almost no one in this country should die from COVID,” he said, citing the high levels of efficacy of both vaccines and treatment for serious illness and death. He noted that life expectancy in the United States has declined recently, in part due to COVID-19 over the past two years. The pandemic virus is now third leading cause of death in the country. As the pandemic subsides, there are still more than 360 deaths each day from COVID-19.
Caliph blamed the misinformation for jamming science-based health messages and “leading people to make bad choices that are bad for their health.” To date, the country has reported nearly 1 million deaths due to COVID-19.