The coronavirus pandemic won’t be taking the holidays off. In fact, cases and hospitalizations are rising again, as the Delta variant spreads. Unvaccinated people remain at risk—including children—but a disorientingly large number of vaccinated people are also getting infected, particularly as their immunity wanes after six months. (Get your booster when eligible.) How can you possibly stay safe? Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, appeared on his podcast to offer some life-saving advice. Read on for all five life-saving points—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Virus Expert Warned Cases Have Taken a “U-Turn” Upward
“There are a lot of moving parts, but I’ll do my best to provide some sense of what I am seeing and how I interpret what I’m seeing with regard to our future,” said Osterholm. “The two months of declining activity we saw after Delta’s peak in mid-September, which took us from around 170,000 cases a day to 70,000 cases a day, are now in our rear view mirror. Even the plateau—where daily cases range from 70,000 to 75,000—was fairly short-lived, lasting just over a week. Now we’re seeing this really abrupt U-turn with daily cases up to nearly 86,000 cases a day, which is 18% higher than it was two weeks ago. Hospitalizations, which sit at around 47,000, have also started creeping back up over the past few days. As a result, we’ll likely see daily deaths start to follow suit, not the greatest news for a country that is still reported [to have] an average of 1,100 deaths a day from this virus.”
Virus Expert Warned Cases are Going Up in These States
“A total of 33 states reported growing cases over the past two weeks, 14 of those states saw cases increase by 40% or more,” said Osterholm. “This includes places like Minnesota, where cases have risen 84% over the past two weeks; Michigan, which has reported a 68% increase; Illinois, which was up 58%; Wisconsin, a 52% increase; Indiana, a 52% increase; in Nebraska 29% increase—in each of these Midwestern states, the current case rates sit above the national average of 26 cases per a hundred thousand. In fact, per capita cases in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin are more than double the national average.”
These States are Also Starting to “Light Up”
“There’s the four corners area of the country where activity has continued to remain high,” said Osterholm. “Colorado has reported a dip over the past few days, but cases in the state are still at the highest level since the surge last winter. Meanwhile, Arizona and Utah, which are also experiencing their most activities since last winter, continue to report gradual case increases. And finally in New Mexico, per capita cases are more than double the national average, which still saw cases grow by 45% over the past two weeks. And then in the Northeastern region of the country states like New Hampshire and Vermont have seen cases explode in recent weeks with per capita cases now more than twice the national average. New Hampshire has increased 123% in the past two weeks. And Vermont is up 73%. And remember, these are two of the most vaccinated states in the country. Other states in the Northeast, including Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are all also beginning to light up.”
Too Many Kids are Catching COVID, Says Osterholm
“This pandemic is taking a toll on our kids,” said Osterholm. “More than 122,000 children were diagnosed with COVID the weeks of November 4th to the 11th, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted. This is the 14th consecutive week of more than a hundred thousand pediatric cases. As of this past week, they continue to account for almost 27% of all cases in the country. We know that schools have been severely impacted by the ongoing efforts with COVID. I know that I’ve thrown a lot at you, and if it’s confusing in terms of what’s happening in this country, I apologize, but I also want to welcome you to the club.”
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.