COVID Cases Continue To Rise In The U.S.

The Biden administration is urging Americans, particularly those age 50 and up, to stay current on their COVID vaccines.

COVID Cases Continue To Rise In The U.S.
Mary Altaffe / AP

It's the summer of reinfection.

Data shows more people are getting COVID, even after being vaccinated and boosted, and Thalia Mendez is one of them.

"Developed a fever like 102 and exhaustion that I've never experienced before," said Mendez. "Now I have to wait three months before I can get the 4th boost."

With each new sub-variant, the battle to get control over COVID can feel more daunting. With many Americans wondering "when will it stop being on the rise."

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 124,000 new COVID cases per day. It's an increase of about 16% over the previous week, the highest daily infection average since mid-February.

The Biden administration is urging Americans, particularly those age 50 and up, to stay current on their COVID vaccines. Sunday, White House COVID-19 coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, said "the most immune evasive" sub-variant is spreading rapidly throughout most of the country.

"What that means is that if you were infected 3-4 months ago, you can get reinfected. We're seeing high levels of reinfection; we're seeing people who are not up to date on their vaccines have a lot of breakthrough infections," said Dr. Jha.

For high-risk individuals, experts recommend a second booster shot four months after the first. But with CDC data showing just 48% of Americans have received a first booster.

"One of the key messages coming out of this moment is if you are 50 or over and you have not gotten a shot this year, in 2022—it is absolutely critical that you go out and get one now, it will offer a very high degree of protection," said Jha.

Officials say a new booster shot, specifically targeting COVID-19 sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5, is on the way. The FDA estimates 'Omicron-specific boosters' from Pfizer and Moderna will be available this fall.

"We have a ton of transmissions right now," said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Public Health Director.

Citing a spike in cases, health officials say LA County is on pace to reinstate its indoor mask mandate by the end of the month. And while Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner and a member of the Pfizer board, said he doesn't see much tolerance for mandates, there are certain settings where mask wearing is still recommended.

"I think if you're going into a congregate setting with a lot of people you don't know, wearing a mask is prudent if you're in a high prevalence area, especially if you're someone who-who's at risk," Dr. Gottlieb said on CBS.

The White House said it will continue to ensure the availability of COVID vaccines, boosters, treatments, and testing to combat the disease, and work to control the fast-spreading Omicron sub-variant.

Dr. Jha also acknowledged that some people may be holding off on getting boosted because they are waiting for that Omicron-specific booster this fall. But emphasized that getting boosted now won't preclude people from getting another dose in the fall or winter, especially if you are age 50 and older.