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Most Americans have now had Covid-19 - but experts are predicting the next surge

Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN

Updated 6:46 PM ET, Mon May 2, 2022

(CNN) While it's tempting to say much of life is getting back to normal, it's probably more accurate to say it feels more comfortable and normal living alongside Covid-19.

For many of those who are vaccinated or were previously infected, learning of a close contact with the disease is less frightening than frustrating.

Testing is more and more normal. Masks are less and less visible.

Kids in the US who are between 6 months and 5 years old could be eligible for vaccines by June, a huge relief to many parents. Many others might not get their small children vaccinated. Just over a third of children ages 5-11 are fully vaccinated.

In the next few weeks, the US is likely to record its 1 millionth reported Covid-19 death, a number that is so staggering it seems unbelievable.

There is an uptick in cases in the US and hospitalizations are up 10% since last week. Hopefully the rate of deaths continues to fall.

Most Americans have had Covid-19

According to data through February released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 60% of adults and 75% of children have antibodies indicating that they've been infected with Covid-19.

The data comes from an ongoing study of blood samples sent to commercial laboratories across the US.

At the beginning of December, an estimated 34% of Americans had antibodies, which suggests the Omicron variant infected a quarter of the population.

We can assume Covid-19 will surge back

The warning from Dr. Deborah Birx -- the White House Coronavirus Response Task Force coordinator during the Trump era, who is out with a new book -- is that we can expect surges in cases in the South in the summer and in the North in the winter.

During an appearance on CBS News on Sunday, Birx pointed to a new rise in Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

"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," Birx said.

Public health officials need to prepare the public, she said, and make sure everyone knows that immunity, from infection or vaccination, wanes over time.


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