Signs are emerging that our collective celebratory spirit over the decline in COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations and deaths could be short-lived. Parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe—the same regions to serve as a precursor to the United States’ own descent into pandemic pandemonium 2 years ago—are all seeing an increase in cases at present. Parts of China and South Korea have already returned to lockdown status, in fact. Socially, presumed driving forces include abandonment of masking and social distancing policies. There’s also a scientific reason to be concerned that the U.S. could soon follow suit, however. Research just published by JAMA Network indicates that the amount of time to have passed since SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is actually a bigger factor in risk for reinfection than exposure to new variants. What public health recommendations or policies emerge from this dynamic situation remain to be seen, but the message is clear: this is no time to take our eye off the ball. Continue to recommend vaccination and boosters for patients that have been lax, and to test proactively so patients (and staff) take measures to reduce risk for infecting others.

Don’t Get Caught by Surprise—Multiple Factors Point Toward Another U.S. COVID-19 Surge
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