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A spike in new COVID-19 cases suggests that we’re experiencing a second wave of the pandemic. Here’s why.

The number of COVID cases in the United States is surging again, following a steady period of decrease witnessed during the late summer. And while coronavirus is surging more in the Midwest, most states are also reporting a steady increase in cases, raising alarms for many health experts.

Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist from John Hopkins University, explained to the New York Times why these numbers indicate that the COVID-19 outbreak is far from over.

“We are headed in the wrong direction, and that’s reflected not only in the number of new cases but also in test positivity and the number of hospitalizations,” said Rivers. She explains that the plateau we’re seeing now, which is higher than it was during the COVID peak in the summer, likely indicates that we’ll experience more cases this time around.

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While many people have been calling this the “second” wave of COVID-19, this is actually the third peak of the illness in the country.

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Photo by Thomas de Luze via Unsplash

This new wave of COVID has been building up for a while, with experts warning people about staying vigilant and getting their flu shots as early as they can. The start of the flu season and the drop in temperatures will increase the spread of the virus, pushing people indoors. This is all without accounting for the country’s political climate, which remains volatile and has politicized mask mandates.

After a disastrous couple of months for the economy, businesses are reopening, trying to survive in adverse conditions. These openings of indoor restaurants and shops, while inevitable, give people a false sense of security, encouraging them to gather in indoor spaces or in areas where there’s poor ventilation.

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Despite the disheartening news, we’re more equipped to cope with COVID than ever before. There’s increased testing capacity all over the country and better knowledge about effective treatment and measures of containment.

We’re all experiencing pandemic fatigue after the better half of a year spent under restrictive conditions. But while we’re all exhausted with the state of the world, we have to stay smart and vigilant, getting our flu shots as soon as we can and complying with face masks and social distancing guidelines.

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