As Michigan shows, the surge is coming.
As noted by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she knows another surge is coming and is worried that states and average citizens are not taking the warnings and precautions seriously. The current daily case count is about where it was in the summer of 2020 when there was a spike in cases. Case counts are up about 14 percent over the last 10 days.
The wildcards for this next phase of the pandemic are the variants that have been spreading throughout the United States for the past few months and are now picking up momentum. See this quote from the NY Times: “Until recently, B.1.1.7’s rise was camouflaged by falling rates of infection overall, lulling Americans into a false sense of security and leading to prematurely relaxed restrictions, researchers say.”
The new variant is both more transmissible and more deadly to those who get the virus (B.1.1.7, the first to come to widespread attention, is about 60 percent more contagious and 67 percent more deadly than the original form of the virus, according to the most recent estimates). People being hospitalized now are much younger than earlier in the pandemic. It also appears that grade school children can catch this version of the virus and transmit it to adults.
My projection is that by the end of April we will see “responsible” states backing off of opening up and in some cases reinstating mask mandates — just as we are seeing in Europe as they deal with their latest surges due to the variants.
And, while we watch the number of vaccinations inch up every day (there were 4 million on Saturday) it is important to remember that the other vaccination numbers we need to watch are the worldwide vaccinations. There are many countries that have not done any immunizations yet. Until everyone is vaccinated on the globe, the virus will have a place to mutate again — which puts us all in danger of having the vaccines we have today become ineffective, or, at a minimum, less effective against new variants of the disease.