CDC Data Shows COVID-19 Cases Spike This Summer—Precursor For Additional Lockdowns?

Another summer surge of COVID-19 cases is likely threatening the U.S., data shared by the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention showed.

What Happened: Many metrics, including COVID-19 hospital admissions, emergency department visits and test positivity, have all increased in the week that ended on July 22, the CDC said.

COVID-19 hospital admissions during that week increased 10.3% week-over-week to 7,109 in the U.S., weekly percentage of COVID-19 emergency department visits rose 17.4% to 0.8% and test positivity percentage increased from 6.3% to 7.6% , CDC data showed.

“After roughly six, seven months of steady declines, things are starting to tick back up again,” said Dr. Brendan Jackson, CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, NPR reported.

Kathleen Conley, a CDC spokesperson, said that, while U.S. COVID-19 rates are still near historic lows, hospitalizations increased in the past week, CBS News reported. Preceding the increase were other indicators that jumped such as ER department visits, test positivity and wastewater levels, she added.

Healthcare experts are less certain how the scenario will pan out. “I do see some early signs that we are heading into another wave. Of course, we don’t know what lies ahead. So it may yet peter out,” said Caitlin Rivers, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, CNN reported.

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Rivers added that it has become difficult to identify how the virus is spreading, given that lab testing and other data collection have been scaled back since the U.S. ended its public emergency for COVID-19 in May.

The CDC found that most of the COVID-19 variants that are circulating are either a second- or third-generation of the XBB variant, with each having slight genetic tweaks. No plans for lockdowns are imminent yet, but the CDC will play the situation by ear and react to the situation accordingly.

Back To Basics: Rivers told CNN that it would be in the public’s best interest to go back to wearing masks in public places, such as airplanes and the metro.

Experts also continue to recommend taking a rapid test when one feels unwell so that the most vulnerable can be protected, CNN noted.

Infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm told CNN that, for those who have yet to get a bivalent booster, it is advisable to wait until new boosters targeting the XBB variant comes out in September since the potency of the previous bivalent boosters have waned.

What This Means For Vaccine Makers: As the COVID-9 pandemic has gotten less severe, biopharma companies, which spent billions of dollars and resources on treatments and vaccines, have seen their bottom lines sag.

Moderna, Inc. MRNAone of the earliest COVID-19 vaccine developers, is expected to report a loss of $4.03 per share when it releases its second-quarter report this week. This would mark a reversal from a profit of $5.24 in the same period a year ago. Revenue is expected to plunge 93.30% year-over-year to $319.64 million.

The company recently filed applications with global drug regulatory agencies for its updated COVID-19 vaccine containing the spike protein for the XBB.1.5 sublineage of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

With experts opining that the COVID-19 viral outbreak will be a recurring theme in summers and winters going forward, these companies will likely continue to see some revenue from the ongoing pandemic.

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