Why is this important: Last winter was the deadliest phase of the pandemic, and many Americans are bracing for the cold to usher in an increase in cases and deaths once again. But there is good reason to believe this year won’t be so bad.
What they say : “I kind of think we’re in a version of what our reality will be for the foreseeable future,” Bob Wachter, president of the University of California, San Francisco Department of Medicine, told Axios.
- “Maybe it gets 10% or 20% better, maybe it gets 10% or 20% worse. But I can’t see it getting 90% or 90% better, ”he said.
Inventory: A critical mass of Americans have been vaccinated – some even boosted – or have natural immunity after contracting the disease. And vaccines for children are due soon.
- This should protect against the kind of widespread resurgences of serious illnesses the United States experienced last winter, said Justin Lessler, who helps lead the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Center at the University of North Carolina. . His models predict a steady decline in COVID cases through March.
- It is possible that another new variant will emerge, but “even if we see resurgences due to a more transmissible variant or people slacking off in their behaviors, I would be very surprised if we saw relapses at the level of the last winter, ”Lessler says.
More more more : It doesn’t mean that we are out of the woods yet. We will always see localized outbreaks and will need to continue taking precautions throughout the winter.
- NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told CBS’s “Face the Nation” last weekend that it was “just too early to tell” whether holiday gatherings should be restricted again this year.
- Although vaccines will soon be approved for children, questions remain about how many parents will want to have their children vaccinated. They may not be deployed in time to be fully immunized before the holidays.
What we are looking at: As Lessler points out, even the most optimistic models “don’t project us to return to the levels we saw in early July until mid-March and that’s a long time.”
- Experts also warn of the dual threat of an increased risk of a bad flu season mixed with the ongoing COVID pandemic.
The bottom line: “I think as we go into the holidays and think about how to protect our families, it’s important to remember that we still have a long road ahead of us,” Lessler said.