Birx: US Should Prepare for ‘Predictable’ Summer COVID-19 Surge in Southern States

The U.S. needs to prepare for a “predictable” surge of COVID-19 cases throughout the Southern states this summer, Coronavirus Response Task Force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Sunday.

Birx, who said she closely follows data out of South Africa, which has recently seen a rise in COVID-19 cases, told told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that “each of these surges are about four to six months apart.

“That tells me that natural immunity wanes enough in the general population after four to six months—that a significant surge is going to occur again. This is what we have to be prepared for in this country. We should be preparing right now for a potential surge in the summer across the Southern United States because we saw it in 2020 and we saw it in 2021.”

Public health officials should explain to the public that protection from COVID-19 decreases overtime, Birx said, and that precautions should be taken with immunocompromised or vulnerable people. Home testing kits and booster shots are essential to helping Americans handle surges, Birx added.

Cases in the U.S. are rising with the spread of the BA.2 subvariant strain of Omicron, with the seven-day average of US cases rising from 49,000 to 54,000 in the last week. According to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 60% of adults and 75% of children have antibodies indicating a prior COVID-19 infection.

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