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U.S. could see a new surge in COVID-19 case numbers. Here’s why

Experts suggest the U.S. has seen a plateau in COVID-19 case numbers. This might be a problem

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Workers take down information from residents as they receive COVID-19 tests at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Experts suggest the US has seen a plateau in COVID-19 case numbers. This might be a problem

Workers take down information from residents as they receive COVID-19 tests at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Experts suggest the U.S. has seen a plateau in COVID-19 case numbers. This might be a problem.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The United States could see a new surge of COVID-19 cases due to eased restrictions and a recent plateau in case numbers, CNN reports.

Emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen told CNN a COVID-19 surge seems likely because the recent dip in case numbers has stopped dipping — and numbers have leveled out.

  • “I think we are going to see a surge in the number of infections,” Wen told CNN.

Wen said the high number of vaccinations might help matters, though.

  • “I think what helps this time though is that the most vulnerable — particularly nursing home residents, people who are older — are now vaccinated. And so we may prevent a spike in hospitalizations and deaths,” she told CNN.

Is this what happened with Europe?

There are some questions about whether the U.S. will suffer the same fate as Europe, which saw a dip in cases and then a plateau before a surge.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said recently that Europe saw a plateau in cases, which led to a surge in that part of the world, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • “When you see a plateau at a level as high as 60,000 cases a day, that is a very vulnerable time to have a surge, to go back up. That’s what exactly happened in Europe,” Fauci said, according to CNN.

Europe might not be a complete guide to what could happen in the U.S., though. Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC the U.S. may be ahead of Europe in terms of vaccine rollout.

  • “I don’t think the conditions in Europe and the situation in Europe is necessarily predictive anymore of what’s going to happen here because we have much more immunity in our population both from prior infection — which they have as well — but also now from vaccination,” he said.

What is the state of the coronavirus in the U.S. right now?

Per Axios, the coronavirus’ impact is holding steady as the vaccine rollout continues. Returning to normal seems pretty possible now with the increased vaccinations. But still following public health guidelines — wearing a mask, washing your hands and social distancing — will make the return to normal a lot easier.

  • “Containing the spread more tightly in the meantime would help minimize the threat posed by variants of the virus, which likely will keep circulating for years, causing new flare-ups and in some cases requiring vaccine booster shots,” according to Axios. “But as long as Americans keep getting vaccinated in large numbers, the end of the pandemic, as we’ve experienced it over the past year, is well within reach.”