The coronavirus pandemic is still going. And as we head into the winter months, there are a number of questions about what might happen in states with high vaccination rates and mitigation measures.

Some highly vaccinated states have seen massive coronavirus surges as of late, which might be a sign of what’s to come in the pandemic, according to Yahoo! News. What happens to the infected people in the upcoming days and weeks may be a signal of what to expect this winter and beyond.

  • “The question now is whether above-average vaccination coverage and continued mitigation measures ... can keep rising infections from turning into the kind of tsunami of hospitalizations and deaths that plagued the entire country last holiday season, before vaccines were widely available,” according to Yahoo! News.
  • “If so, it could signal a new, less dangerous phase of the pandemic, particularly in areas with higher levels of immunity,” per Yahoo! News. “If not, much of America could soon look like Florida over the summer, when more residents were dying of COVID each day than ever before.”
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So far, hospitalizations and deaths have not shot up as quickly as case numbers have, which might be a welcome sign that severe outcomes are being avoided.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NPR that his goal for the winter is to keep an eye on hospitalizations and deaths, hoping the U.S. can control the pandemic’s spread.

  • “We’re looking for a level of control ... where the level of infection — due to vaccination predominantly, but also people who may have been infected and have some degree of protection — that doesn’t disrupt society the way the COVID-19 outbreak is currently doing with us,” Fauci said.
  • “So as we go into the winter months with the challenge of a respiratory infection being worse in the winter months, we can get through this if we really put a lot of effort into getting as many people vaccinated as we possibly can,” Fauci said.