Story at a glance
- The Times reports that two peaks of COVID-19 cases have occurred over the spring and summer, and a fall one may be approaching.
- Public health leaders have recommended scaling down holiday gatherings.
New COVID-19 cases are undoubtedly surging across the U.S., having moved from the coastal states into the Midwest, where cases are peaking past the records set at the onset of the pandemic in spring.
The discussion of this outbreak has Americans wondering if we are set to endure a second wave of new infections following the initial outbreak, or if the public ever truly emerged from the first wave, given that new cases were never suppressed to a solid epidemiological baseline across all 50 states.
Data compiled by The New York Times suggests that instead, the U.S. is actually headed into the third wave of the pandemic, citing multiple peaks across the epidemiological timeline of the pandemic in the U.S.
The U.S. averaged peaks of new cases over multiple seasons, including in spring and summer, led by months April and July, and the increasing rate of infection indicates another peak to follow as the country heads into fall and winter.
“We are starting from a much higher plateau than we were before the summer wave,” Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, told reporters. “It concerns me that we might see even more cases during the next peak than we did during the summer.”
While New York City was the original epicenter of the outbreak in the states, along with high instances in Seattle and Northern California, outbreaks slowly trickled down the coastline and into warmer states, such as Florida, Georgia, Texas and parts of California.
At present, states including Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Nebraska and New Mexico are among the states seeing record-high daily case counts.
Public health officials fear that with colder weather, more activities and social gatherings will move indoors and into spaces where the virus can transmit more easily.
To avoid the threat of a season with mass influenza and coronavirus outbreaks, experts like Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force have suggested cancelling upcoming holiday gatherings outright.
“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering, unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected,” Fauci told CBS Evening News on Wednesday.