COVID cases uptick as FDA teases recommendations on updated booster shot

With students heading back to the classrooms and cooler fall temperatures right around the corner, doctors are sounding the alarm on a recent uptick in COVID cases.

COVID hospitalizations have been increasing, from about 6,000 a week at the beginning of the summer to more than 15,000 the week of Aug. 19, the most recent week of federal data. But in 96% of the country, COVID hospitalizations are considered low, according to the CDC.

The percentage of U.S. deaths attributed to COVID in late August – 2% -- was up from 1.7% the week before.

The uptick in COVID data comes as federal health officials could soon announce an updated booster shot and with it new recommendations about who should get the jab. 

"I think it's up for grabs as to exactly what and who they are going to recommend as far as getting the shot," Dr. Mike Cirigliano said. "In my opinion the obvious are people who are immuno suppressed, the elderly, people who if they get COVID can get into big trouble." 

Even with the uptick in cases, Dr. Cirigliano said the country is in a much different place than it was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Remember that compared to 2020 what we have no are people who have been immunized, had COVID in the past or a combination, so it's not a brand new thing for millions and millions of people." he said. 

The CDC recommends that people infected with COVID stay home and away from others for at least five days and to wear a high-quality mask when indoors around others. The CDC also says that people who are not infected should avoid being around the infected person until their home isolation period ends. If they must be near an infected family member, it’s important to consistently wear a high-quality mask, practice good hand hygiene and take other infection-prevention measures, the CDC says.

"I don't think we're going to have five vaccines in the next year or so. I think what you'll find is you'll get a Covid booster on a yearly basis," Dr. Cirigliano said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report