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What’s the deal with COVID-19? Is the pandemic really over? Or should we brace for another wave of the coronavirus as winter approaches?
While the number of cases, deaths, and hospitalizations from the virus are currently trending downward, there are still more than 100,00 new cases being reported by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on some days.
There are also days where more than 700 people have died from the virus.
So, it’s still “COVID” out there, even though the “weather” has generally improved since the initial outbreak, which took a heavy toll on Latinos.
There’s no crystal ball that can tell us the future, but public health leaders and data provide some insight as to just how “COVID” it will be this winter.
Yes, There Could Be Another COVID Variant
Since the initial outbreak of COVID-19, several variants have emerged, wreaked havoc, and almost as quickly ducked backstage.
For example, in the summer of 2021, the Delta variant took center stage and ruined summer plans for many.
Considered one of the most contagious variants by public health experts at the time, Delta bowed out by wintertime and made room for Omicron, which spread even more easily than its predecessors.
Since then, even more variants have emerged to fight for their chance in the spotlight, with humans forced to watch one of the most deadly shows in history – a show that no one willingly bought a ticket for.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, said there is a possibility for another COVID-19 variant to emerge this winter, despite Biden’s comments that the pandemic is “over.”
This variant could “elude the immune response that we’ve gotten from infection and/or from vaccination,” Fauci said at an event with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism in early October 2022.
His comment suggests that a new variant could be more contagious and/or cause worse symptoms than previous variants.
However, it could play out differently. The variant could be less severe than its predecessors overall. We’ll just have to wait and see if the variant will get stage fright.
No matter what happens, “an increase in the total number of cases could cause an increase in hospitalizations, put more strain on healthcare resources, and potentially lead to more deaths,” according to the CDC.
Don’t Give COVID-19 Another Encore!
What do you do when its “COVID” outside? Put on your jacket (get your vaccine/booster shot!).
If aren’t already vaccinated/boosted, or want to help a loved one get vaccinated/boosted, you can find COVID-19 vaccine locations near you in English or Spanish.
Currently, booster coverage in the US is low, even though booster shots can help better protect you from emerging variants.
The CDC now recommends for everyone five years and older to get an updated booster shot if it’s been more than two months since completing the primary vaccine series.
Children as young as six months old can also be vaccinated.
You can also continue practicing safety precautions, no matter your vaccination status.
Still unsure about getting vaccinated/boosted?
Latinos everywhere are having a change of heart and getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m able to see my grandkids and my kids here. It gives you more freedom,” Rosa Herrera said.
“I feel a sense of relief. And I feel like it’s a little bit of a step forward in trying to help one another, and being a good citizen,” Maria Maldonado said.
Read More change of heart vaccine hero stories!
You can also check out the “Juntos, We Can Stop COVID-19” digital communication campaign from Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio. This campaign aims to help Latino families and workers slow the spread of COVID-19.
The #JuntosStopCovid campaign features culturally relevant fact sheets, infographics, and video role model stories to encourage Latinos to change their public health behaviors.
Explore More:Healthy Families & Schools
By The Numbers
of healthcare workers should focus on infection control