Both COVID and RSV can result in different types of cough, including dry, wet, wheezing, said Dan Olson, associate of epidemiology, to Fortune. While there is no exact way to differentiate the two conditions without testing, there are some potential tells, experts say.
“It’s not evenly distributed across the U.S.,” said Beth Carlton, professor of epidemiology. “It’s grown very rapidly in the Northeast, and there’s every reason to think it will do the same when it gets here.”
Contributing to the Colorado Sun, Dean Jon Samet, along with William Burman M.D, explore the successes, failures, and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing how we can be better prepared for the next health emergency.
“We’re continuing to see far more people hospitalized with flu than at this time in a typical year,” said Beth Carlton, associate professor of environmental and occupational health. “I think that’s the big concern for the weeks ahead.”
“The decrease in the susceptibility of the population as a whole, increase in personal protective behaviors, and the lack of case reporting have caused superspreader events to both be less likely to occur and less likely to be reported,” said Bailey Fosdick, associate professor of biostatistics and informatics.
COVID-19 positivity rates have been rising in Colorado since October, but with fewer people being tested, uncertainty remains. Beth Carlton, associate professor of environmental and occupational health and Jude Bayham, assistant professor of epidemiology at CSU, weigh in for the Denver Post.
Given that cases and the percentage of tests coming back positive have been trending up over the last two weeks, it appears that the rise in hospitalizations points to a real increase in infections, said Dean Jon Samet.
“The bottom line is, what happens this winter depends primarily on the next variant that takes over and also on booster uptake or what proportion of the population gets this bivalent booster,” said Beth Carlton, associate professor of environmental & occupational health.
Talking to more than 50 of his peers and interested public, longtime anti-tobacco giant Dean Jon Samet likened the century long “tobacco pandemic” to the COVID-19 pandemic during a presentation at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Hollings Cancer Center.
“Over the next 12 weeks, we’re pretty confident things will stay low,” said Bailey Fosdick, associate professor of biostatistics and informatics. That doesn’t mean people should treat the virus as a thing of the past, she clarified, emphasizing the importance of vaccinations and boosters.
The CDPHE and ColoradoSPH released an updated modeling report that presents varying scenarios for the state of COVID-19 in Colorado in the coming months. Model simulations show hospital demand through the end of 2022 may depend on the variants that dominate and continued statewide uptake of the new omicron vaccine.
It’s possible that the downward trajectory has paused because kids returned to school and adults went back to their offices, meaning the virus has more chances to spread, said Beth Carlton, associate professor of environmental and occupational health.
As fall approaches, COVID appears to be on a continuous decline in Colorado, defying trends set in the last two years. “Hospitalizations are down. Wastewater levels are down. Percent positivity (of COVID tests) is down. So as we head into the fall, we are in good shape,” said Dean Jon Samet.
Wastewater surveillance data continues to show that the virus’ prevalence in Colorado is dropping, said Bailey Fosdick, associate professor of biostatistics and informatics. But while the situation is improving, the virus is still relatively widespread.
The CDC relaxed its COVID guidelines last week, leaving decision-making mainly to individuals who lack public health training. The lack of a coordinated public health response deprioritizes community health and worsens longstanding health disparities Daniel Goldberg, associate professor of epidemiology, explains.
Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped 14% from last week. Cases are undercounted, meaning that there’s not a clear picture of how many people are truly infected, but the downward trend is still notable said Talia Quandelacy, assistant professor of epidemiology.
Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations remain stuck in the same rough zone they’ve hovered in for the past six weeks. Normally, hospitalizations have started to drop about one week after cases began falling, said Talia Quandelacy, assistant professor of epidemiology.
Omicron variants continue to move through Colorado, keeping positivity rates high. With increasing use of at-home testing kits that often go unreported, Dean Jon Samet says interpreting the surveillance statistics has gotten more complicated.