Will there be a fourth wave of COVID-19?

Posted at 9:04 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 22:34:36-04

NORFOLK, Va. - This week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned of "impending doom" from a fourth wave of COVID-19 as cases rise nationally.

"Right now, I'm scared," Walensky said during a press briefing on Monday.

What would a fourth wave of COVID look like? In Virginia, cases are down dramatically from January, but appear to have leveled off recently. The number of people being vaccinated continues to grow, especially among the most vulnerable.

"I am hopeful that we will not see a fourth wave. What's going on is we have two things going in opposite directions," said Dr. Bill Petri from the University of Virginia, referring to vaccinations rising and the British variant of the virus spreading.

Experts say for now, we need to follow mitigation techniques.

"All of us are concerned about the potential we could see a fourth wave. My estimate is though there's enough people that are getting vaccinated, enough people who have recovered from COVID-19, that that's not going to happen," said Petri.

Even if cases do rise quickly, two-thirds of people over 65 have now been vaccinated. That group is considered the most vulnerable to die from COVID-19 complications.

"Vaccination remains our best tool in fighting COVID. Our state and many other states are moving quickly to having vaccination available to all adults," said Dr. John Snellings from Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Related: Virginia to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults by April 18

Experts say we're not in the clear yet, but a fourth wave doesn't look as dire as previous waves have.

"There's some optimism a potential fourth wave would not be as severe as the other waves we've seen," said Snellings.

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