This Is When Experts Say the Next COVID Surge Will Happen in the U.S.

After closing out the summer with declining numbers, we can expect another spike to hit soon.

As the last days of summer begin to dwindle, it would also appear that new coronavirus cases across the United States are dwindling as well. But now that we've passed Labor Day weekend, it's possible that we may be entering an entirely new phase of the pandemic that will see the virus come roaring back. Now, experts say that COVID cases in the U.S. will begin to surge again as fall begins, hitting a peak sometime after Election Day.

According to forecasts from medical experts, cases of the novel coronavirus will likely begin to spike in the coming weeks due to travel over the holiday long weekend, a change in weather, and changes in public attitudes toward health guidelines such as social distancing and wearing a face mask, The Washington Post reports. In fact, some are so concerned that they've begun dubbing the impending wave of cases "Surge 2.0," fearing it will overwhelm medical facilities just as flu season begins.

Walking home after class, the young woman wears her protective mask because of the coronavirus epidemic.

"My feeling is that there is a wave coming, and it's not so much whether it's coming but how big is it going to be," Eili Klein, PhD, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told The Post.

Others pointed out that rising cases could come back in once hard-hit areas that appear to have beaten the virus. "I firmly believe we will see distinct second waves, including in places that are done with their first waves," said Andrew Noymer, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Irvine. "New York City, I'm looking at you."

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Other top medical experts expressed fears that Labor Day weekend could bring a surge of COVID cases in its wake, as was seen with the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holiday weekends. Anthony Fauci, MD, spent the days leading up to the holiday pleading with the public to avoid mass gatherings, parties, or large family get-togethers, saying that curbing the case count was a crucial factor in keeping numbers in check as autumn approaches.

But some experts see the public's decisions during the coming weeks as the true indicator as to how bad things could get. "People's behavior is a dramatic determinant here," Christopher Murray, the director of the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told The Post. "Look at what happened in Florida [after the spike in cases]. People got scared. They started wearing masks, they stopped going to bars."

Experts have been expressing their fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections for months, especially as people will be moving large gatherings back indoors and the flu is set to return. "There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Robert Redfield, MD, warned back in an April. And for places already seeing a surge, This State Now Has the Worst COVID-19 Infection Rate in the U.S.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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