According to New study, confirmed Coronavirus Cases Dropped in the United States, to levels not seen since March 2020, and researchers estimate case numbers to remain low throughout the summer.
The number of cases initially increased in March of last year, owing to a wave in New York City. That initial rise peaked in April, then steadily declined to a seven-day average of 19,000 instances on June 1, 2020 — and would not go below that level for the rest of the year. The seven-day average was 16,860 on Wednesday, the lowest since March 29, 2020.
Many governors had eased the limitations they had set in the spring by last June, confident that the remainder of the country would not witness a spike as the Northeast did. Last summer, infections exploded across the South and West, and the United States saw its most destructive outbreak in the winter, with daily cases topping 300,000 at its height.
The winter surge has subsided, and the nation is reopening as the calendar flips to June. However, the epidemic has altered dramatically in the last year. Experts believe that thanks to vaccines, the United States will not have a summer surgeon on the same scale as last year.
A similar evaluation was made by Bill Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
“We expect the summer to be pretty peaceful due to a combination of high vaccination rates, a degree of infection immunity, and seasonality,” he added.
Hanage speculated that the current case count may be artificially low due to the fact that fewer instances were recorded over Memorial Day Weekend. Some increases are predicted as more cases come in, but he expects the general trend to stay declining.
Despite this, Osterholm and Hanage both believe that outbreaks will be more confined in places where vaccination rates are lower.
Certain states, such as Texas, have “patchy” vaccine uptake, with certain sections of the state having much greater immunization rates than others, according to Hanage. There will continue to be a danger of outbreaks in these low-vaccination regions.
In regions with higher coverage, outbreaks are also conceivable.
“Even if 90% of the people in the neighborhood are vaccinated, if the 10% who aren’t all hanging out together and are exposed to the virus, a big proportion of them might become infected,” Hanage said.
The real test will come in the fall, when the weather cools and people begin to congregate indoors, according to Dr. Chris Beyrer, an epidemiology professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In indoor, poorly ventilated environments, the virus spreads far more quickly.
Even yet, Hanage cautioned that any autumn or winter increase won’t be as large as the one saw last year, because the immunizations have shown to be quite efficient in avoiding serious sickness. That implies, unlike prior surges, an increase in cases would not always result in a substantial rise in hospitalizations, he added.
What happens in the autumn, according to Beyrer, is up to the American people.