Cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise across the world and experts are looking at older Americans as an indicator of how bad a new surge could get in the United States.
Driving the news: Experts told CNN that scientists will be watching the immunity status of adults older than 65 years old to see how bad the new surge could become.
- The immunity status of older adults will be a key indicator because the chances of suffering severe COVID-19 symptoms rise with age.
- And it has been multiple months since those in that age group got their second and third COVID-19 vaccine doses.
What they’re saying: “It’s really looking at that older age group and how much prior immunity they have, either from previous infection or vaccination, that I think has been the best indicator so far of how severe a given number of cases is going to end up being in terms of hospitalizations and deaths,” said Stephen Kissler, who specializes in infectious disease modeling at Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, per CNN.
The bigger picture: A new coronavirus surge in Western Europe has experts worried about what could come next for the United States.
- The BA.2 variant — a subvariant of the omicron variant — has been running rampant through Europe as society has opened up.
- China has faced a major COVID-19 outbreak, too, seeing its biggest wave of cases since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, as I reported for the Deseret News.
- Experts told The Washington Post that this could lead to an outbreak in the U.S., since the country often lags behind what happens in Europe.
What they’re saying: “Why wouldn’t it come here? Are we vaccinated enough? I don’t know,” Kimberly Prather, a professor of atmospheric chemistry and an expert on aerosol transmission at the University of California at San Diego, told The Washington Post.
- “So I’m wearing my mask still. … I am the only person indoors, and people look at me funny, and I don’t care.”