After coronavirus cases surged over the summer, followed by a period of relief, many Americans believe that coronavirus infections are on a downward trend. However, according to leading ER physician Dr. Matt Lambert, things are about to get a whole lot worse. In fact, he predicts COVID-19 deaths to double over the next few months and into the new year—even if a vaccine becomes available to the public soon.
"The U.S. has just been hit with a triple storm for COVID transmission," Dr. Lambert explains to Eat This, Not That! Health. There are multiple factors that will influence the surge of transmission, and eventually result in the doubling of deaths over the fall and winter months. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Outbreaks at Colleges and Universities
Since students started returning to campus over the last months, numbers have spiked on almost every campus. The New York Times even has a running tally of the number of infections and the colleges impacted, currently estimating over 88,000 infections at at least 1,190 schools. "Much like the 1918 flu pandemic, this virus has found a home in the young adult population during the summer months," Dr. Lambert explains. "This group is the least likely to wear masks and social distance. He also points out that "given the relative good health of this group, we have seen fewer deaths and hospitalizations." However he expects this will change in the winter months. "As a general rule, the more interaction individuals have, the more virus transmission we will see," he says.
The Reopening of Other Schools
Dr. Lambert also believes the reopening of many K-12 schools for in-person classes across the nation will spawn a surge of infections. "Very similar to the above, we can expect to see more cases involving schools," he maintains.
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Just one week after Labor Day weekend, and already 26,000 new COVID cases have been reported in the United States, Dr. Lambert points out, adding that it isn't even enough time to show an accurate spike. "Given the incubation time and turnaround time of COVID testing, we should start to see those numbers increase after next week," he points out. Then, later in the fall and winter, Thanksgiving and Christmas could also provoke surges. "With the current viral prevalence and upcoming seasonality of colder months, we will see more cases and more deaths and hospitalizations at the end of the year," he says.
Once There Is a Vaccine, Not Everyone Will Get It
Dr. Lambert also points out that only 50% of Americans plan on getting the COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available, according to Science Magazine polls. He attributes this to "vaccine paranoia" stemming from fear of misinformation and the idea that a rushed vaccine product that has not undergone extensive testing could be ineffective or have harmful side effects.
What We Need to Do
Dr. Lambert endorses the fundamentals promoted by Dr. Anthony Fauci, which includes the universal wearing of masks, avoiding large crowds, social distancing, staying outdoors instead of in. He also maintains that schools should go virtual if they have a positivity rate greater than 5%. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.