A COVID-19 plateau could come with caveat, experts say

In some parts of the nation, wastewater surveillance data suggests the COVID-19 uptick may have peaked. If cases do start to decline over the next few weeks, that doesn't mean the U.S. is in the clear this winter, however. 

Across the nation, current average COVID-19 levels are down about 5 percent compared to the previous week, according to a Sept. 19 report from NBC News that cited data from Biobot Analytics, a company that monitors wastewater samples at 257 U.S. locations. But past trends indicate another wave could play out in the winter months, Ashish Jha, MD, former White House COVID-19 response coordinator, told WBUR in a recent interview. 

"There tends to be three to four months as waves come down, and the new ones begin building again. So if you do the math, if things start coming down in September, they might go back up in December, January," he said. 

Amy Kirby, PhD, head of the CDC's wastewater monitoring program, told NBC the same. 

"We have seen enough data over the years to know that around the time when school starts, we will start seeing some increases," she said, "which plateau and then come back down" before another uptick later in the winter. 

With that timeline, a winter COVID-19 uptick could coincide with the flu season's peak, meaning hospitals could see similar levels of capacity and resource strain as last respiratory virus season.

 

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.

 

Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars