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For now, wary US treads water with fast-changing COVID-19

The fast-moving coronavirus has kicked off the summer in the US with many infections but relatively few deaths compared to its previous incarnations. COVID-19 is still killing hundreds of Americans every day, but it’s not as dangerous as it was last fall and winter. “It’s going to be a good summer and we deserve this break,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor of metric health sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. With more Americans protected from serious illness through vaccination and infection, COVID-19 has turned — for now at least — into an unpleasant, inconvenient nuisance for many. “He’s feeling remarkably well right now,” said Dr. Dan Kaul, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. “For the first time that I can remember, almost since it started, we have no (COVID-19) patients in the ICU.” As the nation marks the Fourth of July, the average daily number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States hovers around 360. Last year, during a similar summer lull, it was about 228 in early July. This remains the lowest daily death toll in the US since March 2020, when the virus first began to spread in the US. But there were far fewer reported cases at this time last year — fewer than 20,000 a day. Now, it’s about 109,000 — and likely an undercount, since home tests aren’t routinely reported. Today, in the third year of the pandemic, it’s easy to feel confused by the mixed picture: Re-infections are increasingly likely, and a significant percentage of those infected will experience long-term symptoms of COVID-19. However, the serious risk of death has decreased for many people. “And that’s because we’re now at a point where everyone’s immune system has seen either the virus or the vaccine two or three times by now,” said Dr. David Dowdy, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Over time, the body learns not to overreact when it sees this virus.” “What we’re seeing is that people are getting sick less and less on average,” Dowdy said. As many as 8 in 10 people in the US have been infected at least once, according to one influential model. The death rate for COVID-19 has been a moving target, but it recently fell within the range of an average flu season, according to data analyzed by University of Arizona health researcher Mara Aspinall. Initially, some people said the coronavirus was no more deadly than the flu, “and for a long time, that wasn’t true,” Aspinall said. Back then, people didn’t have immunity. The treatments were experimental. Vaccines didn’t exist. Now, Aspinall said, accumulated immunity has reduced the death rate to steady levels in the range of a typical flu season. Over the past decade, the death rate for influenza has been about 5% to 13%. of those hospitalized. Big differences separate flu from COVID-19: The behavior of the con coronavirus continues to surprise health experts, and it’s still unclear whether it will settle into a flu-like seasonal pattern. Last summer – when vaccinations became widely available in the US – followed by the delta wave and then the arrival of omicron, which killed 2,600 Americans a day at its peak last February. Experts agree that a new variant capable of escaping the accumulated immunity of the population may emerge. And the rapidly spreading BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subtypes may also contribute to a change in death numbers. “We thought we had it figured out until these new subvariants showed up,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. It would be wise, he said, to assume that a new variant will emerge and hit the nation later this summer. “And then another wave in the late fall-winter,” Hotez said. In the coming weeks, deaths could rise in many states, but the U.S. as a whole is likely to see deaths decline slightly, said Nicholas Reich, who compiles coronavirus forecasts for the Covid-19 Forecast Hub in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”. We have seen COVID hospital admissions rise to around 5,000 new admissions each day from just 1,000 in early April. But deaths due to COVID increased slightly over the same time period,” said Reich, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The unvaccinated are six times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people with at least the primary shot, the CDC estimated based on data available as of April. This summer, consider your vulnerability and those around you, especially in large gatherings since the virus spreads so quickly, Dowdy said. “There are still people who are very much at risk,” he said.

The fast-moving coronavirus has kicked off the summer in the US with many infections but relatively few deaths compared to its previous incarnations.

COVID-19 is still killing hundreds of Americans every day, but it’s not as dangerous as it was last fall and winter.

“It’s going to be a good summer and we deserve this break,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor of health measurement sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.

With more Americans protected from serious illness through vaccination and infection, COVID-19 has turned — for now at least — into an unpleasant, inconvenient nuisance for many.

“He’s feeling cautiously well right now,” said Dr. Dan Kaul, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. “For the first time that I can remember, almost since it started, we have no (COVID-19) patients in the ICU.”

As the nation marks the Fourth of July, the average daily number of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States hovers around 360. Last year, during a similar summer lull, it was about 228 in early July. This remains the lowest daily death toll in the US since March 2020, when the virus first began its spread in the US.

But there were far fewer reported cases at this time last year — fewer than 20,000 a day. Now, it’s around 109,000 – and likely estimated as home tests are not routinely reported.

Today, in the third year of the pandemic, it’s easy to feel confused by the mixed picture: Re-infections are increasingly likely, and a significant share of those infected will experience long-term symptoms of COVID-19.

However, the serious risk of death has decreased for many people.

“And that’s because we’re now at a point where everyone’s immune system has seen either the virus or the vaccine two or three times by now,” said Dr. David Dowdy, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Over time, the body learns not to overreact when it sees this virus.”

“What we’re seeing is that people are getting sick less and less on average,” Dowdy said.

As many as 8 in 10 people in the US have been infected at least once, according to one influential model.

The death rate for COVID-19 has been a moving target, but recently fell within the range of an average flu season, according to data analyzed by University of Arizona health researcher Mara Aspinall.

At first, some people said the coronavirus was no more deadly than the flu, “and for a long time, that wasn’t true,” Aspinall said. Back then, people didn’t have immunity. The treatments were experimental. Vaccines did not exist.

Now, Aspinall said, accumulated immunity has reduced the death rate to stable levels in the range of a typical flu season. Over the past decade, the death rate from influenza has been about 5% to 13% of hospitalized patients.

Big differences separate flu from COVID-19: The behavior of the coronavirus continues to surprise health experts, and it’s still unclear whether it will settle into a flu-like seasonal pattern.

Last summer — when vaccinations became widely available in the U.S. — the delta wave followed, and then the arrival of micron, which killed 2,600 Americans a day at its peak last February.

Experts agree that a new variant capable of escaping the accumulated immunity of the population may emerge. And the rapidly spreading microbe subtypes BA.4 and BA.5 may also be contributing to a change in death numbers.

“We thought we had it figured out until these new subvariants came along,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas.

It would be wise, he said, to assume that a new variant will emerge and hit the nation later this summer.

“And then another wave in the late fall-winter,” Hotez said.

In the coming weeks, deaths could rise in many states, but the U.S. as a whole is likely to see deaths decline slightly, said Nicholas Reich, who compiles coronavirus forecasts for the COVID-19 Forecast Hub. in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have seen hospitalizations for COVID increase to around 5,000 new admissions each day from just 1,000 in early April. But deaths due to COVID increased slightly over the same time period,” said Reich, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Unvaccinated people have six times the risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to people with at least one primary vaccination course, the CDC estimates based on data available as of April.

This summer, think about your own vulnerability and that of those around you, especially in large gatherings since the virus is spreading so quickly, Dowdy said.

“There are still people who are very much at risk,” he said.

For now, wary US treads water with fast-changing COVID-19 Source link For now, wary US treads water with fast-changing COVID-19

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