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As June begins and summer vacation plans kick off, COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are about five times higher than they were at this time last year, according to CDC data.
The U.S. is now reporting an average of more than 100,000 new cases each day. Last year, the case count remained under 20,000 for all of June, sometimes dropping below 15,000.
This year’s case totals are likely even higher due to the widespread availability of at-home testing, which may not be reported officially, according to ABC News.
This week also marks the eighth consecutive week of increasing COVID cases in the U.S., the CDC data shows, as well as the seventh week straight of increasing cases among children.
About 112,000 pediatric COVID-19 cases were reported last week, according to the latest report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. At this time last year, the U.S. reported about 10,000 pediatric cases per week.
Hospitalizations continue to rise as well, with more than 3,500 coronavirus-positive Americans being admitted to the hospital each day, ABC News reported. Nearly 28,000 patients are now hospitalized with COVID-19 across the country, according to the latest data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Despite widespread COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments, cases are still trending upward due to fewer coronavirus mitigation measures, public health experts have said.
“The issue is that people are not moving with the data and the times — there’s so much COVID fatigue that people aren’t using those mitigation strategies anymore,” Frita Fisher, MD, a doctor based in Atlanta, told 11 Alive.
During the summer months of 2021, many employers still had mask mandates and required vaccinations, the news outlet reported. Masks were also required on public transportation systems.
By the end of the summer, as cases increased again nationwide, the CDC urged people to wear masks while indoors. Some cities also put indoor mask mandates back in place at the end of July.
Without those precautions this year, the cases will likely continue to increase this summer, Fisher said.
“There is a great chance that we will have another surge after Memorial Day weekend,” she told 11 Alive. “I want folks — despite their COVID-19 and pandemic fatigue — to still have a community spirit so that we can move toward an endemic phase and get out of the pandemic phase, which we are very much still in.”
CDC: “COVID Data Tracker: Trends in Number of COVID-19 Cases and Death in the US Reported to CDC, by State/Territory.”
ABC News: “Reported COVID-19 infection levels nearly 6 times higher than last Memorial Day.”
American Academy of Pediatrics: “Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report, data available as of May 26, 2022.”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Hospital Utilization, last updated June 1, 2022.”
11 Alive: “COVID cases up as US heads into summer with fewer mitigation measures.”