A new coronavirus surge in Western Europe has the United States preparing for another potential COVID-19 outbreak, per The Washington Post.

What’s happening: The BA.2 variant — a subvariant of the omicron variant — has been spreading throughout Europe, hitting countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

  • About one dozen European countries are seeing a spike right now.

Why this matters: Experts told The Washington Post that a widespread COVID-19 wave in Europe will likely lead to a similar outbreak in the United States.

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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.”
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that opening up might be the reason for the spread.
  • “Without a doubt, opening up society and having people mingle indoors is clearly something that is a contributor, as well as overall waning immunity, which means we’ve really got to stay heads-up and keep our eye on the pattern here,” Fauci said. “So that’s the reason why we’re watching this very carefully.”

Worth noting: A wastewater network — which specifically monitors for COVID-19 cases — recently warned that more than one-third of sample sites pointed out rising COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to NBC News.

  • The samples were collected between March 1 and March 10.
  • The rising signs of COVID-19 cases are about double the amount from the Feb. 1 to Feb. 10 period, when the omicron variant wave started to fade, per Bloomberg.