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Is Another Surge of COVID-19 Coming This Winter?

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Epidemiologists are torn in terms of whether we will see another deadly surge of COVID-19 this holiday season. Last year was one of the worst winters on record for the healthcare industry. Facilities may not see as many infected patients this year thanks to the vaccine, but there are still plenty of issues to go around. The vaccination rate in the U.S. is still hovering at around 60%. Many people are rolling up their sleeves to get a booster shot before heading home for the holidays, but millions of others remain unvaccinated.

Almost every area is still seeing a backlog of care after months of canceling elective procedures. With low staffing levels and high rates of burnout, even a slight uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases could overwhelm hospitals this winter.

We asked providers from all over the U.S. to share their thoughts on the next chapter of the pandemic and here’s what they had to say:

Now that the best and easiest way to protect yourself from severe illness is available to 94% of the population, I’m ready to just let nature take its course and have a happy holiday season knowing my family and friends are all protected.

Lauren

I’m in Central Florida. Rarely see positive patients in the hospitals and most people have been living their normal routine. I don’t think we are in terrible danger.

Адријана

It totally sucks, it’s already started! Some are vaccinated, some aren’t!

Amy

We invited my mom to Thanksgiving dinner, but both agreed it was not a good idea because of the rate of infection in SC at the time.

Jenni

The 1st surge was bad, but we had 30% more staff than we did with the 2nd. 8-10 acute tele (including COVIDs on 15L low high flow) patients a night is not safe. And staff is continuing to leave. Staffing is the real issue.

Domingo-Chelsea

Get together, have fun, and don’t worry about covid! Eat, drink, gather, and be merry! 🎄🎄

Erin

Stopped living in fear a long time ago…

Lauren

My question is… Will the antibodies that people have continue to be adequate? The virus is still around. I don’t feel like science has answered that.

Terri

I think we’re close to herd immunity between vaccines and natural immunity. Unless the vaccines keep failing and people need a booster every 6 months then this is never going to end.

Crystal

I think I’m going to enjoy the holidays with my family and continue to ignore the excessive coverage of it. Beyond tired of hearing about it, and everything being blamed on it.

Kandace

Cases are not as much of a problem as lack of staff.

Elaine

I’m not going to let covid dictate who I spend my time with.

Morgan

When I know some people aren’t vaccinated, it’s indoors, eating and unmasked involved, it’s really hard to even WANT to be around those types of crowds. I really don’t want a mild case even. Is the company of acquaintances who I barely know or have an attachment to even worth any of it? Not really. Then when I see what I see in the ICU, it makes me less interested in allowing risk into my life. I do not want to have to make calls if exposed and worry about the contacts of my contacts. I much prefer being around the vaccinated because they share my values, and they are safer!!

Jennifer

I’m pre-self-medicating for wave #823. 😩 I’m tired.

Kaleb

Mainly, let’s see what they do without the staff that had to walk out 🤷‍♀️

Alexandra

Stay home that way you won’t get anything and it’s cheaper lol.

Carole

I’m over it. We’re just peaking and maybe we’re seeing a decline…. I can’t imagine another surge. 😤

Rick

Worried. I’ve had the two vaccinations plus the booster, but there are breakthroughs.

Avie

What do I think about them? They’re inevitable, so I’m just preparing to be more annoyed than usual. 🤷‍♀️

Shellee

We’ll just have to wait and see if another deadly surge rears its ugly head this winter. One thing is for certain, nurses could use a break!

These responses have been edited for length and clarity. 

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