COVID-19 Deaths, Hospitalizations Increase as U.S. Heads Into Fall | Health News
COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have been on the rise in the U.S. as fall approaches.
Nearly 845 coronavirus deaths were reported for the week ending Aug. 19, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from about 520 deaths a month prior.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations have been increasing in the U.S. for nine weeks, reaching more than 20,500 new hospital admissions during the week ending Sept. 9 – an increase of nearly 8% from the prior week.
While the totals are smaller than in previous waves of the virus in the U.S., they mark noteworthy trends heading into the fall and winter seasons. The CDC recently published its respiratory disease season outlook for COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and predicted that the “upcoming fall and winter respiratory disease season will likely have a similar number of total hospitalizations compared to last year.”
Federal agencies recently signed off on new COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older in the hopes of increasing protection against severe disease ahead of any potential coronavirus surges.
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“Vaccination remains critical to public health and continued protection against serious consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death,” Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “The public can be assured that these updated vaccines have met the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. We very much encourage those who are eligible to consider getting vaccinated.”
The shots target XBB.1.5, a coronavirus strain estimated to be responsible for about 2% of new COVID-19 infections in the U.S. in recent weeks, according to CDC data. But researchers and vaccine makers also are optimistic the shots will protect against severe disease from other variants, including EG.5, or “eris,” and BA.2.86, or “pirola.”
“The updated vaccines are expected to provide good protection against COVID-19 from the currently circulating variants,” the FDA said in a press release.