Covid surge in summer: are we facing a new wave?

Covid-19 cases have been rising for more than 10 consecutive weeks. According to the latest available datathe positivity rate for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in primary care rose in the last week of June from 36.4% to 42.5%. For the moment, the upward trend has not reached its peak. These figures contrast with those of the first week of May, when the percentage of positive cases barely exceeded 2%.

You might think that we are facing a new wave of Covid, but we are far from the numbers and severity of the peak moments of a pandemic that, officially, lasted until the beginning of May 2023, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the international emergency. In reality, This is a new surge of a virus that is here to stay.

What is causing the surge in cases?

“As happens throughout the year, now in summer we are having another one-off increase because, if we compare the incidence figures with a different time period of the year – for example, the month of March – there are now many more reported cases,” he confirms. Patricia GuillemProfessor of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the European University. “What we also have to consider is that These reported cases are not resulting in many more hospital admissions.”.

Currently, people hospitalized for Covid usually have other pathologies or comorbidities: elderly people and patients whose immune system is weakened by other causes. “It is a highly transmissible disease and continues to cause many problems, especially in those more susceptible people,” the expert highlights.

Among the reasons for the summer surge is the increase in social contact at this time, with an increase in travel and significant changes in the usual circle of contacts. The end of spring and the beginning of summer marked the graduation season for preschool, primary, secondary and university students, during which crowds of people gather. In addition, during the summer there are large gatherings outdoors and it is a time when people go out to dinner more often on terraces, where they also come into contact with many people. Summer music festivals, often crowded, are another possible source of transmission.

Covid is often equated with the flu, but they are two respiratory infections with distinctive characteristics. Both the flu virus and the coronavirus are transmitted very efficiently in winter, but the pathogen that causes Covid also causes major outbreaks in summer.“Coronavirus is becoming more and more resistant”Guillem points out. “And it is a virus that likes be transmitted, multiply in different organisms and the more crowds there are, the more possibilities of transmission there will be.”

In most people it does not cause serious symptoms.but mild symptoms mean that when people are not aware that they have Covid and that it is not the same as having a common cold, “they do not take preventive measures and act by spreading the disease even further.”

Symptoms of covid

Pneumonia, which was the main cause of concern when the pandemic broke out in 2020, is now very rare, “but there is some,” says Guillem. Another typical manifestation of this virus, loss of smell, is also not notable at the moment. “Right now, The most common clinical symptoms are respiratory, but mild.”, the expert sums up.

However, it is advisable not to let down our guard because Covid can complicate the clinical picture of vulnerable people, both the elderly and those with chronic pathologies such as hypertension, diabetes or asthma.

These are the most common symptoms today:

  • Nasal congestion.
  • Tos.
  • Sore throat.
  • Fever, usually mild.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sneezing.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle pain.

There is no medicine to this for these demonstrationsbut you can use the same ones as for a cold, “always self-medicating responsibly”: antihistamines, anti-inflammatories

Recommendations to control the transmission of coronavirus

Given the current increase in the incidence of Covid, Guillem believes that we should all be “more aware that we must resume those measures that we were so clear about during the pandemic, which in many cases the population, due to lack of routine, has abandoned.” He refers, above all, to the Hygienic measures to prevent transmission.

He also recommends getting tested for coronavirus “at the first signs of symptoms.” If the antigen test results are positive, “you should isolate yourself from other people and wear a mask.” If cases of covid are detected in workplaces“everyone must wear a mask to prevent transmission and those affected can work remotely,” as long as the jobs allow this possibility.

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