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United States in the ‘eye of the hurricane’ when it comes to COVID-19, expert says

The U.S. may be seeing low COVID-19 numbers right now. That could change soon

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In this Jan. 31, 2021, file photo, pharmacist Diana Swiga fills a dead volume syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site at the Bronx River Houses Community Center, in the Bronx borough of New York.

In this Jan. 31, 2021, file photo, pharmacist Diana Swiga fills a dead volume syringe with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 caccine, at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site at the Bronx River Houses Community Center, in the Bronx borough of New York. The U.S. may be seeing low COVID-19 numbers right now. That could change soon.

Mary Altaffer, Associated Press

Will the United States see a rise in COVID-19 cases soon? One expert recently told CNN that the country is sitting in the “eye of the hurricane” and disaster may soon arrive.

What’s going on?

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN the country is in the “eye of the hurricane” — a phrase that often means you’re in the calm before the storm, since the eye of the hurricane is often considered the calm part of the tropical storm.

  • “I’ve been on Zoom calls for the last two weeks about how we’re going to manage this,” he said. “The big wall is about to hit us again and these are the new variants.”

Those new variants include ones from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, which have all made their way stateside in recent weeks. The majority are from the B.1.1.7 strain, which comes from the United Kingdom, according to CNN. Per CNBC, the U.K. coronavirus strain is doubling in the U.S. every 10 days.

  • “This could be really, very dire for our country as we head into the spring,” Hotez told CNN. “Now, we’re in a race. We’re in a race to see how quickly we can vaccinate the American people.”

More worries about new cases

Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in early February that the United States will see a surge of new cases because of the variants, too.

  • “The surge that is likely to occur with this new variant from England is going to happen in the next six to 14 weeks,” he said.
  • “The hurricane is coming. Because of this surge, we have to call an audible,” he said.

Osterholm — who worked on President Joe Biden’s transition coronavirus advisory board — said that the country needs to move quicker to vaccinate more people, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.

  • “If we get a number of first doses in people, particularly 65 years of age and older, we can really do a lot to reduce the number of serious illnesses and deaths in this next big surge, which is coming,” Osterholm said.