Fauci warns COVID-19 cases likely to surge in the fall

Anthony Fauci
Posted at 3:39 PM, Apr 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 17:44:37-04

(WXYZ) — COVID cases in the US may have plateaued, but a surge will likely happen this fall. That’s according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert.

Spring has just begun. So I can understand why people don’t want to think about a surge that might happen later in the year. However, health experts like Dr. Fauci and myself don’t want people to be caught off guard. Everyone needs to be aware and prepared when it comes to this very contagious virus.

Now, when it comes to surges, the US often follows other countries - like the United Kingdom for example. That country dropped pandemic restrictions and cases surged once again. Interestingly enough, the US has not followed suit. Our numbers continued to drop after the initial omicron spike. And over the last couple of weeks, case numbers nationally have been generally flat. But the tide may be about to turn - roughly half of all states and territories are now seeing an uptick in new virus cases. Especially where omicron’s subvariant BA.2 is widespread.

We can hope that our current immunity levels are high enough to ward off new spikes. But by fall, immunity levels could be much lower. And when you combine waning immunity with cold weather and more people spending time indoors, that opens the door for the virus to thrive.

The best protection is when you’re up to date with COVID vaccinations. Right now, the CDC recommends people aged 12 and up get a booster shot 5 months after receiving the first two doses of Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine. Or two months after getting the J&J vaccine. There’s really good data that shows getting boosted can protect people from getting seriously ill.

Now folks who are age 50 and up are allowed to get a second booster shot four months after their first booster. But, I am hearing the question “should I get it now or should I wait” from many of my patients. And here’s what I recommend – if you’re over the age of 65 or you're immunocompromised, then you should get the second booster when you’re eligible. For people aged 50 to 65, you need to consider your medical risk factors. If you have multiple medical conditions and are at risk of developing severe illness, then you should get a second booster. If you’re healthy and had the initial booster, then you could consider waiting. If you’re not sure, I recommend you discuss the second booster with your family physician.

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