Winter is coming, again: What to expect from COVID as the season looms

Cécile Viboud, an infectious diseases epidemiologist at the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center, said nine modeling efforts her group is monitoring suggest that by the end of November, the Delta wave will have waned and new cases will be down “at quite a low level.” How low? Down to where the country was in late June and early July, before Delta took off. At that point the country was reporting somewhere between 7,500 to 15,000 new cases most days.

Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? So does what Viboud said next. “We’re probably going to stay there, because there is quite a bit of immunity in the population,” she told STAT…

Late November coincides with Thanksgiving, America’s favorite week for cross-country travel. Last year, Thanksgiving and Christmas turbo-charged Covid spread. Can transmission levels remain low if large family gatherings occur across the nation this year?

Viboud said all the models factor in events like Thanksgiving. The expectation of low transmission by around that time is predicated on the amount of immunity there will be by then in the country, antibodies generated by vaccination — 63.9% of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated — or acquired the hard way, through Covid infection.