COVID-19 unknowns exist heading into colder months

Whether cases will continue to rise is to be seen, says expert

August 22, 2023

IN THE NEWS: : This summer has seen warmer temperatures, relaxed pandemic protocols and — as if lurking in the ocean among unsuspecting frolickers — the specter of rising COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates.

Scientific American logo black SA on white backgroundUCI Health infectious diseases expert Dr. Susan S. Huang spoke to Scientific American about a sudden 12.5% jump in COVID-19 hospital admissions in late July and the outlook for the continuing spread of the coronavirus moving forward.

“Fortunately, so far, we’re not really seeing a surge in hospitalizations — so people are getting sick, but most of the time those illnesses are fairly mild. I don’t think we’re in our wave yet, although we all know that it’s coming. So, are we at the start of a wave? Is it going to be more in the winter season? I think we’re all watching. I think the answer is, we don’t know for sure.”

As the colder months get closer, Huang says it's essential to maintain existent health protocols. It also will be important to encourage people to get the latest COVID-19 vaccine when it is available this fall to protect the community and ride out a winter surge.

Huang is the medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at UCI Health and a professor of infectious disease at UCI School of Medicine. She currently leads a $13.7 million study to examine antibiotic resistance in U.S. nursing homes.

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