The United States of America has been given a breath of relief as COVID-19 cases decline in the past few weeks. From the delta variant surge that caused a seven-day average of 200,000 cases, October saw a 40% drop in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
This rapid decline can be positively attributed to the increasing rate of mass vaccination, with 416.15 million vaccines administered as of October 27, 2021. The stronger immunity and positive behavior changes have caused a speedy drop in new cases, leading scientists to believe that this may be the last COVID-19 surge in the U.S.
But does this little spark of hope mean that we’re just a couple of steps to achieving herd immunity and completely leaving the threat of COVID-19 behind us? Here’s what experts think.
Complacency is the New Enemy
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen COVID-19 cases declining. Since the pandemic set foot in early 2020, the numbers of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have significantly fluctuated. In mid-September last year, we were already thriving in the new normal, with only a handful of new cases per week — until the virus mutated into the more contagious delta variant, which spiked U.S. COVID-19 stats above the 200,000 mark.
And each time COVID-19 cases have declined, the tiny ray of hope brings along a bigger enemy: complacency. More people let their guards down and forget to abide by health and safety protocols — small changes that wreak havoc into the country’s progress to curb the spread of the virus.
While we are being taken on a rollercoaster ride, unknowing of when cases will rise back up again, scientists warn that the pandemic is not over yet. Based on the numbers themselves, it seems that this is the last COVID-19 surge, but human behavior can completely change that. If complacency continues to flourish, people still refuse to get vaccinated, and citizens start to abandon basic safety mandates, another winter surge is highly plausible.
The U.S. is in a Much Better Place Today Than Last Year
Despite much uncertainty with regards to the future of the U.S. amid COVID-19, one thing is for sure: we’re in a much better place today than we were last year. With 70% of adults fully vaccinated, FDA approval for child vaccinations underway, and scientist getting closer to understanding super immunity, we have a stronger line of defense to fight COVID-19 once and for all.
But scientists and doctors leave us with this: let’s not let our foot off the pedal too early. Instead of getting complacent, we should be more cautious and careful so that we can carry each other to the finish line — that is, a world free of COVID-19.
Let’s break the cycle of COVID-19 surges by complying with basic health and safety protocols, regardless if new cases are high or not. Wear a face mask, practice social distancing, stay at home when possible, and most importantly, get vaccinated.