The next big wave of coronavirus cases is already here, and holiday travel hasn’t even started yet.
The U.S. daily average of new COVID-19 cases jumped 29% in the last two weeks, surging to just south of 94,000 per day, according to data from The New York Times. That number will surely climb as people travel and gather together over the next few weeks for the holidays.
But we’re already seeing the beginnings of what will likely be a new COVID-19 surge. Per Ars Technica, “national cases were this high at the beginning of November last year and at the beginning of this past August — as the country headed into two of the largest surges in the pandemic so far.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that there will be a dangerous new COVID-19 surge if enough people don’t get vaccinated soon.
“We still have about 60 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not been, and that results in the dynamic of virus in the community that not only is dangerous and makes people who are unvaccinated vulnerable, but it also spills over into the vaccinated people,” he said.
“We have a lot of virus circulating around. You can’t walk away from the data, and the data show that the cases are starting to go up, which is not unexpected when you get into a winter season. People start to go indoors more and we know that immunity does wane over time,” he added.
Fauci also pushed Americans to get their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. All American adults are now eligible for the COVID-19 booster shots after both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration approved the shots late last week.
Getting your booster shot now can help make your upcoming Thanksgiving travel plans a little safer, experts agree. Gathering together can be safe if everyone is vaccinated. If there are unvaccinated people in your family gathering, they might be at high risk for infection to the coronavirus.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has been pushing for Utah to get vaccinated. He recently approved all adults to get the booster shot, too.
Tom Hudachko, the spokesman for the Utah Department of Health, said people should get whatever booster shot they can find to stay safe from the coronavirus. Hopefully, he said, everyone will take advantage of the free shot.
“We really hope that over the course of the coming weeks and months, as we start to get into the winter season and people head indoors, and they’re gathering inside for the holidays, that anybody who’s older than 18 should take advantage of the opportunity to get a booster dose,” he said.
But anyone who wants to wait might be too late. We’ve seen this before. Numbers start to tick up across the country, first in small pockets of the United States before expanding outward. We hear about spikes in Europe and other countries. People issue warnings about getting shots or wearing masks. And soon enough, there’s another surge of case numbers, putting millions of people at risk.
Thankfully, you can gather with your family this holiday season if you’re vaccinated or if you practice common health recommendations. But don’t be mistaken — the next big COVID-19 surge is already here.