COVID-19 at home test from SD BIOSENSOR Sarah Blocksidge/Pexels

SEATTLE - As the temperatures around the country rise, people congregating indoors to avoid the head and those traveling for any summer activities are causing an increase in cases of COVID-19. Although health experts expect this summer's wave of infections to remain relatively mild, cases are growing or likely growing in 44 states and they don't appear to be declining anywhere in the country, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

Despite the reported hospitalizations and deaths remain low, more than half of the new infections are coming from a new strain. Descendants of the highly contagious JN.1, the KP.3 and KP.2 strains have been found in 53% of the COVID-19 cases reported by the CDC data as of June 22.

The CDC stopped tracking COVID-19 cases in May of last year, but it can still estimate the transmission rate based on emergency department visits. Both Covid deaths and emergency visits have risen in the last week, with hospitalizations rising 25% from May 26 to June 1.

On June 27, the CDC advisory panel voted an unanimous 11-0 for a new round of shots for Americans age six months or older to protect against the latest strains and they could be available as soon as August and September.

"Our top recommendation for protecting yourself and your loved ones from respiratory illness is to get vaccinated," said CDC director Dr. Mandy Cohen. "Make a plan now for you and your family to get both updated flu and COVID vaccines this fall, ahead of the respiratory virus season."

One of the most reliable ways the CDC has of tracking new cases after testing dropped off is through wastewater surveillance. Those studies show that COVID levels are rising in the Midwest, Northeast and in the South.

As of last month, the CDC reported that less than one-quarter of U.S. adults and 14% of children were up to date in their Covid shots.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020, about 1.2 million deaths associated with Covid have been reported all across the United States according to CDC data. The most intense period was during the winter of 2020-2021 with weekly deaths surpassing 20,000.

But those cases have been going down thanks to vaccination campaigns and other initiatives. The CDC reported that, in 2023, more than 916,300 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19 and more than 75,500 people died from COVID-19. During the 2023-2024 flu season, more than 44,900 people are estimated to have died from flu complications.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.