Latest virus wave shows signs of abating in the Northeast
By Jesús Jiménez
The latest coronavirus wave that has affected most of the United States is showing signs of improvement in the Northeast.
More than 29,000 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 across the country, an increase of 16% over the past two weeks, and more than 3,000 of those patients are in intensive care.
But in northeastern states, hospitalizations have been declining. In Vermont, numbers have dropped by more than 40% over the past two weeks. They declined over 20% in Massachusetts and roughly 10% in Maine, Connecticut and New York.
Every other region is seeing a rise in hospitalizations, particularly so in the southern states of Alabama and Louisiana, where hospitalizations have risen by at least 70%.
Hospitalizations tend to be a more reliable indicator than caseloads, which could be significantly undercounted as Americans turn more to at-home tests that go unreported to county health officials. Case counts may also have been affected by reporting delays over the Memorial Day weekend.
Angela Rasmussen, a virus expert at the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Research Organization, said how cases play out this summer would depend on a number of factors.
“A patchwork of rising cases and the impact will depend on vaccination rates, demographics and the availability of health care,” she said.
Dr. Bill Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said the situation would most likely improve over the summer but that another wave of cases could be expected after that.
“Things are likely to be somewhat worse, especially in the fall and winter,” Hanage said.