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Increasing COVID-19 Cases Raise Anxiety at Start of New School Year in U.S.

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the United States recently as the new school year starts, raising anxiety over the possibility that schools could implement mask mandates again.

The country has been seeing a significant rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since summer, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There were 15,067 new COVID-19 hospitalizations for the most recent week ending Aug. 19, marking an 18.8 percent jump from the prior week, CDC data showed.

COVID-19 deaths also saw a 17.6 percent increase in the most recent week.

Currently, there are over 6.27 million COVID-19 hospitalizations and nearly 1.14 million COVID-19 deaths in the country, according to CDC data.

Los Angeles County has seen COVID-19 cases double in the last month, according to data from the L.A. County Department of Public Health, with nursing homes particularly affected.

A new “highly mutated” variant, the EG.5 variant, is drawing concerns from health officials and experts.

The variant is estimated to be the “dominant” strain in the country as it makes up the largest share of new COVID-19 cases compared to other variants.

The CDC estimated EG.5 made up 21.5 percent of new cases in the period from Aug. 20 to Sept. 2.

Surges of COVID-19 cases in Texas and Kentucky have caused three school districts to briefly suspend in-person classes, according to a report of The Hill.

In the post-emergency era of COVID-19, schools no longer have the comprehensive surveillance data that was readily available during the pandemic.

Without specific guidance, decisions on COVID mitigation measures are largely up to school district leaders, in cooperation with local health authorities and in consultation with the community, said the report.

Updated COVID-19 vaccines are anticipated to become available in the United States by the end of September. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to hold a meeting on COVID-19 vaccines on Sept. 12.

With a potential winter and fall surge of respiratory viruses including COVID-19, flu, and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), experts recommended people, especially the vulnerable groups, to get vaccinated against all of the three viruses at the same time, to better protect themselves.



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