Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Coronavirus Chaos

Is COVID-19 Making A Comeback?

Image Credit: Creative Commons.
COVID-19 Facemask

For much of this year, it looked like the COVID-19 pandemic was finally over. But in recent weeks, there have been signs of a surge, albeit a small one. 

COVID-19 Is Making a Comeback…Sort Of

After nearly three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has looked for much of 2023 like the COVID nightmare is finally over. While people have continued to get the virus, and some have still died, those numbers have been a fraction of what they were during the pandemic’s height. And beyond that, COVID has receded as a major topic of conversation in the news, and in American life generally. 

But in recent weeks, there have been signs of a summer mini-surge in the pandemic. However, there are many key ways in which it differs from the surges of the past. 

According to NBC News, hospitalizations began rising in mid-July, for the first time since the start of the year. The 8,000 new hospitalizations represented a 12.1 percent increase from the previous week. 

However, that number is comparatively low, as there were more than 44,000 reported COVID hospitalizations in the same week the year before. 

“The U.S. has experienced increases in COVID-19 during the last three summers, so it’s not surprising to see an uptick after a long period of declining rates,” CDC spokesperson Kathleen Conley told NBC News. 

However, most patients, at least at some hospitals, are not significantly sick. 

Bill Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, told NBC that it’s still unlikely that most people will get COVID now. 

“You’re still not hugely likely to be getting it,” Hang told NBC. “And if you do, and you are vaccinated, then your chance of being seriously ill is very slim indeed.”

Politico drew a similar conclusion, that while cases are up, it’s not quite time to panic, noting that “public health experts and the White House appear confident the U.S. is well-positioned to manage the virus heading into the fall.” The story did note, however, that it’s harder to get accurate reporting numbers than it once was, now that most jurisdictions no longer require mandatory reporting. 

The outlet also looked at the political side of COVID, noting that the Biden Administration has attempted to “portray a sense of victory over the pandemic,” in part by eliminating the position of COVID-19 czar and ending the COVID emergency. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration has made historic progress on our nation’s ability to manage COVID-19 so that it no longer meaningfully disrupts the way we live our lives,” White House spokesperson Kelly Scully told Politico. 

There’s a reason why COVID isn’t as much trouble as it was. 

“This likely reflects the fact that most individuals have at least some degree of immunity conferred from vaccination, prior Covid-19 infection, or both, along with the broad availability of treatments that significantly reduce the likelihood of needing an [emergency department] visit or hospital admission for Covid-19,” Akin Demehin, senior director of quality and patient safety at the American Hospital Association, told Politico. 

One thing that’s been clear for the last year is that COVID-19 has so receded as a political issue that it is no longer a thing that moves votes. 

Ron DeSantis, in particular, has sought to use his presiding over a lack of COVID restrictions in Florida in the 2024 Republican primaries, but there are few indications that this is an issue that is much on the minds of voters and appears unlikely to re-emerge as one as the worst of the pandemic gets further in the past. Also, it doesn’t appear that vaccine skeptics in the Republican Party are holding Operation Warp Speed against Donald Trump

“To some extent, I’m thinking of this as the new normal,” Association of Public Health Laboratories CEO Scott Becker told Politico. “We never expected variants to just disappear, so the virus is doing what viruses do. We’re watching all of this in order to better be prepared for any fall surge in respiratory diseases.”

Author Expertise and Experience

Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.