Should We Prepare for a Winter COVID Surge?

Airplane wing against a blue cloudy sky
Photo by Patrick Tomasso via Unsplash.

Many of us are tired of hearing about COVID and would like to be able to see friends, travel, and gather. Some of us have already been doing that. After vaccines were introduced, there was a short time in summer when we thought we were out of the woods, and then the Delta variant hit. Lately, cases have been going down slightly locally, but there are still hospitalizations and some deaths in Alameda County.

Next week is the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday, and then winter holidays. Data across the country shows that COVID cases are already on the rise—and a potential winter surge could come due to traveling and holiday gatherings.

According to a recent NPR article, the increase has already started in half of the states:

It’s a worrying sign for the U.S. ahead of the holiday travel season: coronavirus infections are rising in more than half of all states. Experts warn this could be the start of an extended winter surge. 

The rise is a turnaround after cases had steadily declined from mid September to late October. The country is now averaging more than 83,000 cases a day — about a 14% increase compared to a week ago, and 12% more than two weeks ago.

“I hate to say it, but I suspect we’re at the start of a new winter surge,” says Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

Most of the increase is happening in the Midwest and Northeast states. However, many local Bay Area folks may travel to these states during the holidays.

Author Profile

Momo Chang is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Oakland Voices Co-Director. Her work focuses on healthcare, immigration, education, Asian American communities, food and culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Momo has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting and the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. Her work has appeared in the East Bay Express, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and The New York Times. Momo is primarily a print journalist who also produces audio and visual stories for documentary film and radio. She is a Senior Contributing Editor for Hyphen and formerly the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

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