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Anticipating a Summer Surge: Insights from CDC Data on COVID-19 Trends in Illinois

Indicators suggesting a potential rise in COVID-19 infections are emerging across various parts of the United States.

Recent wastewater testing, which serves as an early indicator of community spread, has revealed significant increases in virus levels in several states. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Montana and Florida are observing “very high” levels of COVID-19 in wastewater. Additionally, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, and New Mexico are reporting “high” levels.

The CDC also notes a notable uptick in emergency room visits related to COVID-19, with a 12.6% increase in one week. The largest increases were recorded in Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Despite these increases, national hospitalizations due to COVID-19 remain relatively low, accounting for only 0.6% of all emergency department visits last week.

Positive COVID-19 test rates have also risen by 1%, although many cases may go unreported due to the widespread use of at-home testing kits.

The recent surge in cases could be influenced by new dominant subvariants like FLiRT and KP.3. While current COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer strong protection against these variants, effectiveness may wane over time, especially for those who haven’t received a booster dose recently.

Ilan Rubin, a research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, highlighted that widespread vaccination efforts last year may have resulted in a population becoming more susceptible around the same time during the summer months.

With summer activities such as travel and social gatherings increasing, there is a heightened risk of exposure to the virus. Public health experts emphasize the importance of continued vigilance, vaccination, and adherence to preventive measures to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 during this period of increased activity.

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