In the last two years, this has happened five times. COVID- A few weeks before they rose in the United States, 19 cases spiked in Europe.
Cases are on the rise once more in at least a dozen European countries, ranging from Finland to Greece. In South Korea, Hong Kong, and parts of mainland China, they’re on the rise.
Some experts here are concerned that some of these countries are foreseeing our future.
Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California, said, “We’re learning a lot about the next wave that’s going to happen in the United States.” “It will take place. It can’t be avoided.”
Researchers aren’t sure if the United States is in for another wave of cases or if it’ll just be a minor blip. According to Dr. Joshua Schiffer, an infectious disease expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who specializes in developing mathematical models of disease, predictive models can indicate that a wave of infections is coming, but they can’t accurately predict how big that wave will be.
That’s because how people react to an outbreak determines so much of the outcome. “The answer to this question is much more complex than science can explain,” he said.
Infections are mostly caused by the BA.2 strain of omicron, which arrived in the United States late last year and has been slowly spreading since then, accounting for about a quarter of all cases here, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a percentage of cases, BA.2 has roughly doubled each week for the last month, suggesting it’s poised to become dominant.
That’s what happened in the United Kingdom, which was hit by an omicron wave as bad as the United States not long ago and is now dealing with BA.2.
Aside from data from other countries, another possible early indicator suggests that cases in the United States are about to rise again. After weeks of national decline, analysis of coronavirus particles in wastewater shows increases in 40% of communities, even before people know they’re infected. More than a quarter of the 400 monitored sites, according to the CDC, have seen at least a doubling of viral particles in the last two weeks, with 53 seeing a 1,000 percent increase.
The wastewater data isn’t conclusive, and some experts, such as Rob Knight, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, who monitors sewage on campus and in the surrounding communities, are skeptical.
“It’s just another piece of information that points to being prudent, cautious,” Shaman said.
Infectious disease epidemiologist William Hanage of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said he can’t predict how bad another wave will be, but he can predict where it will hit hardest.
After two years of very successful prevention efforts in Asian countries such as South Korea and China, 19 spikes have occurred. Despite the fact that their populations are highly vaccinated, the shots used in Hong Kong, for example, are not as effective as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines used in the United States, according to Hanage. And only a small percentage of the population is immune to natural infection.
Because Omicron is so much more contagious, he claims, it’s been impossible to contain infections using the same strategies that worked earlier in the pandemic in Asian countries. To slow the spread of previous variants, two out of every three infections had to be stopped. “It’s much harder to do” with BA.2, he said, because seven out of eight must be stopped.
And, while one person wearing a mask may not be enough to stop the pandemic, Schiffer believes that a large number of people wearing masks – especially indoors at potentially super-spreader events – could make a significant difference, especially at a time when cases are just starting to rise.
America has previously paid the price for ignoring early warning signs, such as cases in Europe and rising wastewater levels. Topol believes there is no evidence that we have learned from our past mistakes.