This Is What Could Be Different About a Third COVID Wave

The next phase of COVID could hit in an unexpected way.

The COVID-19 pandemic has evolved and changed over the course of its life in the U.S. For much of the pandemic, we've seen concentrated outbreaks, first in New York, then in Southern states, and most recently, in the Midwest. As we approach the fall, health experts are trying to predict the virus' next move. On Aug. 23, Scott Gottlieb, MD, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), predicted that during the third wave of COVID, the virus will become more scattered, as opposed to the concentrated spikes we've been seeing.

Gottlieb doesn't see the potential for COVID to shift to a spottier spread as good news. In his appearance on CBS' Face the Nation, he said, "The concern is that if there is sort of a third wave, a third iteration, of the national epidemic, it could be more diffuse spread across a broader section of the Midwest, because cases are building in those parts of the country and that's what's concerning people right now."

Man wearing a mask

On the plus side, the country has seen a drop in deaths and hospitalizations overall, which according to Gottlieb is "being driven by a decline in the Sun Belt where the coronavirus really was epidemic [during] the sort of second wave, if you will, of the epidemic." As these cases decline, Gottlieb fears the rise of cases throughout the Midwest and West, where they seem to be "building up."

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If Gottlieb's prediction is correct, and COVID shifts from concentrated outbreaks to more spread out cases, officials may have to adjust their approach to containing coronavirus. As fall approaches and we enter a new phase of the pandemic, our response to the virus will have to shift with the season. And to find out more about where COVID is on the rise, This State Now Has the Absolute Worst COVID Outbreak in the Country.

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