NewsYour Health MattersAsk Dr. Nandi


'Ample room for uncertainty': As COVID cases rise again in Europe, could the US see the same?

Posted at 3:13 PM, Mar 14, 2022

(WXYZ) — Countries in Europe are seeing higher cases of COVID-19.  If cases are rising overseas, could it happen in the US? 

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the coronavirus, is that it’s unpredictable. If we look at what’s going on in Europe, countries like the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany are seeing yet another rise in cases. There’s also concern that conflict in Ukraine could contribute to a possible surge. Over 2 million Ukrainians have fled their county. That means shelters in surrounding areas are quite crowded. It’s unfortunate that Ukraine and many surrounding areas have low vaccination rates.

If a wave happens in Europe, can it happen yet again in the US? Right now that might seem unlikely since our numbers are still trending downward. But by the end of March, every State will have dropped its mask mandate. You combine human behavior, an infectious disease, and a few pandemic precautions together – well, the answer is yes, another wave is possible.

Remember, the virus is an opportunist. So even in countries like China, with a zero COVID policy, they’re facing a new spike due to Omicron. It’s just a highly contagious virus.

Right now, hospitalizations are on the rise in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The UK is one of three European countries that has recently taken an endemic approach. Where you focus on living with the virus and avoid full shutdowns. Spain and France are the other two. So I’ll be keeping a close eye on what happens in these countries.

I know people are anxious to return to normal. I am too. But I don’t know if we’ll ever go back to what normal was like before the coronavirus arrived. The virus is always mutating and changing. A new variant could develop, especially in areas where COVID-119 is active and spreading. And we can’t say with certainty that it won't be more dangerous or less contagious.

In my opinion, the best way to live as normally as possible is for people to get vaccinated and boosted. Right now, only about 44% of the US is boosted. Which is surprising. CDC data has shown that Pfizer and Moderna boosters have proven to be very effective when it comes to hospitalizations. Even with Omicron.

So once again, the best way to protect yourself is to get the vaccine.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.