Experts Predict Summer Surge of COVID as Virus Becomes More Infectious


A new COVID-19 variant allows the virus to more easily evade the immune system. This strain, which belongs to a group sometime referred to as “FLiRT” variants, show that virus continues to adapt and spread. In April, the new variant, called KP.2, became the dominant strain among new COVID cases. Early studies indicate that KP.2 is better at brushing off the body’s immune forces than the dominant variant this past winter. Fortunately, it may also be a less efficient at taking over cells, meaning that a person wold need to be exposed to a larger amount of the virus to become ill. The new variant is expected to drive a summer surge in cases and hospitalizations. Over the last few years, the US has experienced a late summer/early autumn wave, followed by a second wave around the holidays. This year, the wave may be less severe than in the past, some experts say. “I think that there’s going to be a significantly large susceptible population out there, from that combination of waning immunity and viral evolution, that we’re going to see a number of cases this summer,” said Dr. Thomas Russo, chief of infectious diseases at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Russo added that there is a chance that “the wave won’t be as great” as prior years.

The latest vaccine guidance from the CDC recommended that seniors get an additional dose, while people under 65 could consider receiving one as well. People who are not immunocompromised may prefer to wait until the fall when the updated vaccine becomes available, since it will be most effective against the variants currently circulating.

Full Story: The Hill, NBC News