Drops in COVID masking, testing and vaccination are continuing to create the perfect conditions for a new variant to emerge. Experts warn that a new variant could cause significant mortality.
The U.S. is experiencing its highest levels of influenza hospitalizations in a decade. Also, hospitalizations for respiratory illnesses such as RSV and COVID-19 are rising. COVID-19 cases rose following the Thanksgiving holiday, and COVID-related hospitalizations have increased over the past week. However, the rate of weekly deaths from COVID-19 have decreased by 17%. New cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported at a rate of 3 million per week nationally. Experts worry that the combination of stable COVID-19 with other respiratory illnesses on the rise may spur a new variant resistant to vaccinations.
As respiratory cases rise and COVID precautions fall, the World Health Organization warns that a perfect storm may arise for a more deadly COVID-19 variant. The CDC continues to encourage COVID-19 and flu vaccinations for personal protection and for public health reasons.