Deaths spike as new COVID-19 variant threatens summer surge

Atlanta, Georgia – Recent federal health data has revealed a concerning trend as more people are ending up in emergency rooms and losing their lives due to COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an increase in emergency room admissions and deaths, indicating a potential surge in the spread of the virus.

With the collection of surveillance data becoming limited, health officials are relying on hospitalizations and deaths as key indicators of the disease’s impact on communities. The latest data from the CDC shows a rise in both emergency room visits and fatalities related to COVID-19, signaling a potential uptick in cases across the country.

Experts suggest that the changing seasons may play a role in the fluctuation of COVID-19 cases, with larger spikes observed during the winter months and smaller increases in the summer. While cases are on the rise this summer, the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 is lower compared to earlier stages of the pandemic, thanks to vaccines and prior infections providing some level of protection.

Despite the progress made in combating the virus, health officials warn that the recent increase in emergency department visits and deaths should not be taken lightly. The provisional data shows a 23% rise in emergency room diagnoses of COVID-19, with certain states like Hawaii, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, and Washington experiencing a substantial increase in cases.

While there hasn’t been a significant change in COVID-19-related hospitalizations, deaths have surged by 14% in the past week alone. Health experts emphasize that the percentage increase in deaths should be viewed in context and not compared to the peak numbers seen earlier in the pandemic.

During a recent panel to discuss updated COVID-19 vaccines for the fall, health officials stressed the importance of older individuals receiving the updated vaccine to mitigate the risk of severe outcomes. The CDC recommends that everyone aged 6 months and older should receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available later in the year.