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Virus Expert Just Gave This "New Surge" Warning

Cases keep on climbing.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

New COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise. According to New York Times data, new cases are up 50% nationwide in the last 14 days. But those numbers may not paint a true picture of the extent of this latest surge. Public health specialist Dr. Saju Mathew joined CNN's The Lead With Jake Tapper recently to warn about what he's seeing from the latest surge of COVID. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

"People Are Getting Infected Left and Right"

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According to the Times, in least nine states, new cases of COVID have doubled in the past 14 days. In Missouri, cases have tripled over two weeks ago. "I'm really concerned," said Mathew. "I've definitely been one of many medical analysts that was really unhappy about lifting the mask mandates. If you look at how people are living this country, it's like the pandemic doesn't exist anymore. People are getting infected left and right."

2

New Cases May Be 5-10 Times Higher Than Reported

Man self tests for COVID-19 home test kit.
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Because most people are testing themselves for COVID at home, using rapid tests that aren't reported to local governments, "There's a lot of underestimation of the daily cases," said Mathew. "We say there's a thousand per day. I think it's probably five or tenfold higher. And currently, there is a surge in most states. Hospitalizations are ticking up. I was at an urgent care yesterday, and talked to one of our PAs. She saw 70 patients in a 10-hour period. Thirty of them were positive, and the people that are unvaccinated were sicker, but we still had a good number of people who were vaccinated and boosted that also tested positive for COVID." 

3

100 Million New Infections Possible

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Experts agree: The pandemic is not over. And the Biden administration recently warned that the country could see 100 million infections this fall and winter. "We're looking at a range of models, both internal and external models, and what they're predicting is that if we don't get ahead of this thing, we're going to have a lot of waning immunity, this virus continues to evolve, and we may see a pretty sizable wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths this fall and winter," Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said on ABC News Sunday.

4

"We've Been in This Rodeo Before"

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"I think it's an extremely important warning that everybody in the United States, whether you're unvaccinated or vaccinated and boosted, should certainly take heed of because we've been in this rodeo before and we know what to do," Dr. Syra Madad, an epidemiologist at NYC Health + Hospitals, told CNN on Monday. "We have the tools and resources to protect ourselves and protect those around us. It's important that people are aware that the risk level around them is increasing. And so there are things that you can do to reduce your risk of getting infected, and certainly having a severe outcome."

5

How to Stay Safe Out There

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Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more