Summer travel, less masking, subvariants behind COVID jump

Hospitalizations, deaths not expected to spike as in previous waves

August 07, 2023

IN THE NEWS: Phrases like “pandemic,” “social distancing” and “masking requirements” may no longer be part of our daily lexicon, but there can be no mistaking that COVID-19 and its devastating effects are neither gone nor forgotten.

LAist logo black letters on white backgroundWith hospitalizations jumping more than 10% in July over the previous month, rates are rising as quickly as summer temperatures. But what is the cause? UCI Health infection prevention expert Dr. Shruti Gohil spoke to AirTalk on LAist 89.3FM about the trend.

“It’s a combination of a lot of things. We saw the highest peak in travel that we’ve seen in the COVID era. People are feeling more comfortable. They’re getting out there. Masking is much less prevalent’s been many months since people have had their last vaccine. All of that combined with the fact that we have a couple of substrains popping up, it’s not surprising that you would see this uptick.

“At least for now, [because of] the layered protection that we’ve had through either prior infection or the vaccines, we’re not looking at the kind of peaks with hospitalizations and deaths that we’ve seen in the past.”

Gohil is a board-certified specialist in infectious diseases and the associate medical director for UCI Health Epidemiology and Infection Prevention. She is an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the UCI School of Medicine. Her clinical interests include hospital epidemiology, infection prevention, communicable disease transmission and multidrug resistant organism infections.

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