PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been more than two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began and infections are spiking again across the United States. In just the past month, COVID-19 cases have jumped more than 168% nationwide.
The surge has a handful of school districts in the Philadelphia region bringing masks back to the classroom.
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The actual numbers are probably 10 times higher than the official count because so many people are testing at home. It has health departments and hospitals sounding the alarm, warning people to take precautions.
The CDC’s COVID community transmission map is all red again for the Philadelphia tri-state region, meaning the virus is widespread.
“It’s cause for concern,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said.
Bettigole says Philadelphia is now averaging 360 COVID cases per day.
“So those numbers are substantially higher than they were a week earlier,” Bettigole said.
Hospitalizations have doubled, and a new warning is being issued. The health department was joined by Penn, Jefferson and Temple Hospitals urging people to take precautions.
Dr. Tony Reed is the chief medical officer at Temple Hospital.
“If you’re indoors when the rates go up like this I’m going to encourage you to put a mask on,” Reed said.
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After problems with prior mandates, the city is still just recommending, not requiring masking.
Nationwide, COVID cases have soared more than 168% in the past month and hospitalizations are on the rise in 40 states.
“It’s much worse because we’re undercounting COVID cases,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Celine Grounder said. “Many people are testing at home, using at-home rapid tests and many people are not testing at all.”
There’s also deepening concern among parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that cases among kids have climbed 76% in the past two weeks.
“There is a lot of danger of spread and even if you are personally not someone, not high-risk — you’re young, healthy — you could carry this to somebody else,” Bettigole said.
Doctors say it’s especially important for people who are eligible to get boosted now.
Suburban counties are seeing even higher COVID numbers and some are issuing new recommendations.
“I’m seeing this in my practice as well. There is a large increase in the number of people who have become infected,” Dr. Richard Lorraine said.
Dr. Lorraine is the medical director of the Montgomery County Health Department.
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“This is a time of year when people are getting together,” Lorraine said. “We’ve had holidays, graduations, proms things like that people are getting together more. The second reason is we’ve seen changes in the subvariant of omicron that is definitely more contagious.”
Source : https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2022/05/20/covid-philly-pa-us/