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The U.S. may be at a ‘tipping point’ for a new COVID-19 surge, experts say

Experts forecast a potential new surge of COVID-19 cases if current habits continue

SHARE The U.S. may be at a ‘tipping point’ for a new COVID-19 surge, experts say
SARS-CoV-2 virus particles that cause COVID-19.

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles that cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Experts forecast a potential new surge of COVID-19 cases if current habits continue

NIAID-RML via Associated Press

The United States might be inching toward another surge of COVID-19 cases, experts recently warned.

What’s going on?

Dr. Celine Gounder recently told CNN that coronavirus variants — such as the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom — are still spreading throughout the country, causing cases to spike.

  • “That strain is increasing exponentially. It’s spiking up,” Gounder told CNN. “So we are probably right now on a tipping point of another surge.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Europe is a good example of how a drop in cases can lead to a new surge.

  • “And if you look at what happened in Europe a few weeks ago, they’re usually a couple of weeks ahead of us in these patterns, they were coming down too, then they plateaued. And over the last week or so, they’ve had about a 9% increase in cases,” he said.

OK, but there’s a vaccine, right?

Yes, there is a vaccine. However, Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” over the weekend that the current vaccination rate might not keep up with the spread of the new variants.

  • “We are in the eye of the hurricane right now,” Osterholm said. “Things are going very well, we see blue skies.” But the U.K. variant “is about to come upon us,” he said. “Today it’s wreaking havoc in parts of Europe.”

So what should you do?

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN at the beginning of March that the best thing to do is abide by the public health guidelines for now.

  • “Please stay strong in your conviction. Continue wearing your well-fitting mask and taking the other public health prevention actions that we know work,” Walensky said.