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ONEn increase in number of COVID-19 cases from the past few weeks could be signs of a light summer COVID-19 wave in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hospitalizations, test positivity rates, and emergency room visits by people who contracted the virus have everything seen a national increase since mid-July, although the number remains relatively low.
“US COVID-19 rates remain near historic lows after 7 months of steady declines,” CDC spokeswoman Kathleen Conley said in a statement to CBS News. “The United States has seen increases in COVID-19 over the past three summers, so it is not surprising to see an increase.”
However, experts note that there is still insufficient evidence that this increase will lead to a major eruption, although it is something to watch. More than 144,000,000 vaccine doses have been distributed in the United States, and some 56.4 million people have an updated booster dose.
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Research from the CDC also shows that most Americans have some degree of protection against the virus, like 96% of blood donors over 16 years had antibodies from previous infection or vaccination.
Here’s what you need to know about the rise in cases.
What does the CDC data show?
CDC data show that the hospital hospitalizations related to COVID-19 had increased by 10.3% from July 9 to July 15, equivalent to an increase of more than 7,000 hospitalizations across the United States. The percentage of people diagnosed with the virus after an emergency room visit also increased over the past few weeks from around 0.5% in mid-to-late June to 0.78% on July 24.
Deaths from COVID-19 remain roughly the same. Data from the past three weeks is still being updated, but the week of July 1 saw 494 COVID-related deaths, compared to the week of June 24 at 549.
But overall, charts tracking this information show that summer’s current data is still at the lower end of the latest increase, which happened this winter.
In the week of 31 December 2022 and 7 January 2023, there were more than 44,000 admissions. Similarly, hospitalizations from July 2022 remained around the same 40,000 mark. That’s compared to the highest rate of hospitalizations seen in the week of January 15, 2022, when about 150,000 people were in the hospital due to COVID.
Some other countries have also seen an increase in cases
While the United States has seen a small increase in cases, other countries have similarly shared concerns about a COVID-19 surge this summer.
Officials in Japan say they’ve seen a fourfold increase in the number of COVID-19 cases from May to July, Japan Times reports. They added that they could not predict the extent of the next COVID-19 wave, but warned people to be careful when meeting with people who may be more vulnerable to the virus.
COVID-19 also remains a serious risk in China, which experienced its own increase in cases earlier this year. The country has eased its COVID-19 restrictions in Decembercausing a wave of infections this winter.
China’s second COVID-19 wave began in April 2023 and lasted until June. Forecasters predicted that China would watch from anywhere 11 million to 65 million cases of COVID-19 per week in June, but official statistics on COVID-19-related deaths and infections are unclear as experts question the country’s official COVID-19 statistics.
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