March 18, 2021

by Christina Maxouris & Eric Levenson

CNN reports that, according to one expert, the US could be facing a surge in cases of Coronavirus infection. However, the mass vaccination of the most vulnerable in America will likely lessen its “human cost.

On Wednesday night emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen told CNN, “I think we are going to see a surge in the number of infections. I think what helps this time though is that the most vulnerable — particularly nursing home residents, people who are older — are now vaccinated. And so we may prevent a spike in hospitalizations and deaths.”

Health officials have warned of this suspected fourth surge as state leaders throw out COVID-19 related restrictions and mask mandates. CNN writes “The first warning sign came when case numbers, after weeks of steep declines, appeared to level off — with the country still averaging tens of thousands of new cases daily. That kind of plateau previously predicted surges, some experts have said.

Cases of the worrying variants — notably the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant — have also climbed and are set to become the dominant strain by the end of March or early April.”

These fears have been exacerbated by state governors lifting restrictions just in time for spring break. People are gathering in states like Florida and air travel has reached pandemic-era records. Cases are rising by more than 10% in 14 states this week compared to last week, according to Johns Hopkins University data, with half of those states seeing a rise of more than 20%.

While vaccinations will likely limit hospitalizations and deaths, Dr. Wen still has her concerns.

“I think we’re going to see an increase in the number of infections, but not necessarily an increase in hospitalizations and deaths, which again is a really good thing,” she told CNN on Thursday. “But we also note that many governors are not going to reimpose restrictions unless we see our hospitals becoming overwhelmed.”

“So we could see a situation of a lot more infections outpacing the ability of our vaccines to work and people letting down their guard but not having the restrictions in place to curb it. And I fear that we may lose, as a result, this race of variants versus vaccines.”

Read the full CNN article here.

Read more about vaccinations here.