As COVID cases surge in Europe and Asia, what does that mean for us?

Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 6:05 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Locally and across the U.S., we’ve seen a decrease in COVID hospitalizations and restrictions.

However, could we see a similar surge to what’s happening in Europe and Asia? We spoke to local doctors about how things differ here at home.

The current COVID stats in China are reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic. The World Health Organization is contributing 86 percent of new cases globally to an omicron subvariant, also called ‘stealth omicron.’

“It does seem to be spreading faster,” said Dr. Roger MacArthur, infectious diseases expert at Augusta University Health.

That came as bad news to China, a country strict in lockdown efforts early in the pandemic.

“They had this massive lockdown, they would lock down entire city blocks, and now— it seems this new sub-variant is out there, and people have not been exposed to any of the variants,” he said.

The virus quickly overtook Hong Kong in a new wave. In February, vaccination rates among those 80 years and older sat at 33 percent.

“In terms of who’s at highest risk of dying from getting COVID-19, it remains those who are above the age of 60 or 65,” said MacArthur.

How are vaccination rates different here?

According to the CDC, 82 percent of Georgians aged 65 and up are fully vaccinated. Though doctors say the next battle is to get everyone boosted and hope the at-risk will wear masks in crowds.

Doctors hope the different efforts here at home will set us apart from what’s happening across the globe.

“This is certainly not the time to panic. This is a time to return to normal existence in Georgia and South Carolina,” he said.

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