United States: The threat and concerns linked to the COVID-19 infection are still high among the Americans who are at high-risk and are immunocompromised. Currently, the United States have been dealing with huge surge of the infections, according the to the national data.

The experts have outlined that the surge in summer months is not common however, the surge in the temperature – which has been resulting in heat wave – might have acted as a catalyst. The reason was cited because due to soaring temperatures and humidity people are spending more time in air conditioned and closed rooms.

The official data has revealed that at the present time, 39 US states have been dealing with the surges due to COVID-19 infection. The experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have outlined that they are unable to see a decline anytime soon.

While explaining the same, the medical epidemiologist and board-certified pathologist Dr. David A Schwartz, MD, MS Hyg, FCAP stated, “There is concern in the public health community that a summer spike in COVID-19 cases may occur as a result of the new FLiRT variants combined with less vaccine uptake and declining immunity in the community, as well as increased travel and indoor gatherings during the summer,” according to the reports by Parade.

Furthermore, the experts highlighted, “Laboratory research suggests that the current vaccines and immunity acquired from previous infection may not be effective in producing high levels of protection, especially among certain persons with risk factors such as those persons with underlying conditions, the immunocompromised and the elderly,” the reports outlined.

In addition to this, the topic was also addressed by an epidemiologist at Houston Methodist – Dr Ashley L Drews, MD, who stated, “We have seen COVID surges every summer since the onset of the pandemic, but this one seems to be starting earlier in the summer than the previous summer COVID surges. We are likely seeing a surge right now as the most widely circulating variants, the FLiRT variants, have mutated and further evaded the immune system, coupled with waning immunity in general. There was low uptake from the updated COVID vaccine in the fall of 2023.”

As per the experts and official data by the health authorities, the hospitalisations are high as compared to earlier spring season but the experts have also highlighted that the hospital admissions have not reached up to the peak of the pandemic.

The Emergency room visits were addressed by Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare infectious disease physician Dr Shirin Mazumder, MD, who mentioned, “Emergency room visits for COVID-19 have increased over 14% from the week before,” and further mentioned, “COVID-related hospitalizations have also increased by 25% from the previous week.”

The experts have also predicted that the number of cases, hospital admissions and emergency visits can increase following the July 4 parties and long weekends. Along with spread of COVID-19, people have also highlighted that long COVID can also become a concern during such times as it can linger for months and can be really serious.

What can be common symptoms during the current COVID-19 surge?

At the current times, the most common symptom linked to COVID-19 infection can be sore throat, according to the experts and epidemiologist, as per Parade.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Andreas M. Kogelnik, MD, PhD, stated, “Unfortunately, one of the most common COVID symptoms currently seems to be a sore throat with or without a mild fever. I say unfortunately because—of course—a sore throat can be attributed to many different causes.”

Along with this, the other common symptoms which could be noticed in a person dealing with the current variant of COVID-19 can be:

Body aches

Chills

Congestion

Cough

Fatigue

Fever

Besides this, the health experts have mentioned that the people are not witnessing symptoms like loss of smell and taste – which were quite common earlier.

Dr Mazumder further informed, “COVID symptoms have remained very consistent in the last couple of years.” As per Parade, the expert also added, “With the information available so far, there does not appear to be an increase in symptom severity as it relates to hospitalizations and death with the currently circulating strains.”

What can be possibly done to protect yourself from the surge?

The health experts have been asking the general public to get vaccinated against the infection during the fall. However, they have also outlined that the scientists might develop a vaccine this fall which will be effective against the current strain.

To explain this matter, Dr Mazumder stated, “Although there will most likely be an updated COVID-19 vaccine this fall, individuals over the age of six months who have not received the current booster should consider getting vaccinated.”

“People who are immunocompromised and those over the age of 65 are eligible to receive another booster dose of the vaccine even if they received one last fall. As long as it has been at least four months since their last vaccine, people in this category can get another booster. The COVID-19 vaccine helps to decrease the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. With an anticipated summer wave, now is a great time to get up to date on the COVID-19 vaccine,” according to reports by Parade.

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