COVID-19 cases are on the rise again as the world enters its fourth year of living with the highly contagious disease.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows upticks in hospital admissions, emergency room visits, and positive tests.
The data is concerning, but the good news is that the rise isn’t as high as previous summers.
Blistering heat continues to punish large parts of the U.S. while Summer travel is still humming along and COVID-19 infections are up, especially in the South.
"In the last couple of weeks, our hospitalized cases of COVID have gone up. It's not a surge, but there is indeed an increase in hospitalizations. And we also hear an increase in cases that are not severe enough to be hospitalized. This continues to be a very, very contagious virus," said Dr. William Schaffner of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Dr. Schaffner is an infectious disease and public health expert. He says travel, extreme heat, and a weakened immune system are factors in this slight uptick.
"And as we all get together, traveling, celebrating, going to concerts, meeting with friends and relatives, we're still passing this virus around amongst each other," said Dr. Schaffner.
The CDC's guidance remains the same: If you’re sick, stay home for at least five days in isolation. The tools to help prevent the spread remain the same.
"It's time to open up that bureau drawer and take out the mask. And if you're going indoors to any kind of group activity where there are many other people, I certainly recommend wearing the mask," said Dr. Schaffner.
The other recommendation is to get a COVID shot. Vaccine manufacturers expect new doses to be ready by the fall to guard against new COVID variants.
"There’s going to be a massive push across the United States to get your flu shot and to get your COVID vaccine updated. And then for the over-60s, get that new RSV vaccine," said Dr. Scott Miscovich, President and CEO of Premier Medical Group USA.
The doctors Scripps News spoke with say the new reality is that COVID shots are something you should be getting every fall along with a flu shot.
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