The United States might be experiencing another COVID-19 wave as hospitalisations surged more than 10% to 7,109 as of July 15, as compared to 6,444 the previous week, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We've seen the early indicators go up for the past several weeks, and just this week for the first time in a long time we've seen hospitalizations tick up as well. This could be the start of a late summer wave," said Dr Brendan Jackson, the CDC's COVID-19 incident manager, to NPR.
According to him, all indicators of the COVID-19 in wastewater, the percentage of people testing positive and admission in emergency rooms have increased in the month of July, after a steady decline for the past several months.
However, the numbers are quite low as compared to those during the same time in the last three years. Jackson equated the recent rise in COVI-19 cases as a "jump at the bottom of a ski slope".
Senior citizens occupy the majority of the people being admitted for COVID-19 treatment. However, deaths can rise in the coming weeks if the hospitalisations keep on increasing, Jackson further said.
Meanwhile, the CDC has no plans to impose recommendations such as mask wearing or social distancing, as of now. "For most people, these early signs don't need to mean much," said the incident manager.
Most experts believe that the recent surge, even if it were to become another wave, will not be as serious as compared to previous years, thanks to large numbers of vaccinations and immunity from previous infections.
"We're in pretty good shape in terms of immunity. The general population seems to be in a pretty good place," says Dr Céline Gounder, an infectious disease specialist at New York University.
Doctors have recommended caution for older people and others with health problems, as they are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. They have been advised to keep themselves up to date with vaccines and quick treatment.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to approve a new vaccine in September to bolster waning immunity and to try to blunt whatever happens this winter.
However, some projections have suggested that COVID-19 may cause another deadly wave this year. "It will still be in the top 10 causes of death, and I suspect that COVID will remain in the top 10 or 15 causes of death in the United States," says Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina.
A total of 1,135,364 people died during since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.