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Expert says anticipate increased COVID-19 cases, reinfections in fall

A woman in a sleeveless dress spreads her arms wide while telling a story to someone social distancing from her.
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
Despite the recent hot temperatures in Indiana, Hoosiers are still spending time outside. Which experts say has contributed to keeping COVID-19 infections down.

Indiana’s weekly average for COVID-19 cases and Hoosiers hospitalized for the virus has grown over the last month. In fact, after averaging fewer than 250 new cases per day in March, June’s average climbed to 1,332.0 cases per day.

Experts say they anticipate more cases and reinfections as we head into fall.

Despite the recent hot temperatures in Indiana, Hoosiers are still spending time outside. Brian Dixon, interim director of the Regenstrief Institute’s Center for Biomedical Informatics, said that has helped keep COVID-19 cases relatively low.

“We’ve about 600 people in the hospital – which is a very manageable number – but that tells us that COVID is still around, it’s still making people sick and still making them sick enough that they need to be hospitalized,” Dixon said. “So it’s still of high concern for us in public health.”

Dixon said deaths remain very low – something he attributes to a few variables, including the vaccination rates for older Hoosiers. Most of the new infections in Indiana are among 20- to 30-year-olds.

But he said that may not remain the case in the fall because of the omicron variants in the U.S. – BA.4 and BA.5.

“So if you had a case – for example, right now this summer – you’re still susceptible to get it again in the fall,” Dixon said. “We’re going to see both increased cases and a high rate of reinfection with this new strain of the omicron variant.”

READ MORE: A new dominant omicron strain in the U.S. is driving up cases — and reinfections

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Dixon said Regenstrief’s data shows people who have gotten boosters in the last six months are doing better against the COVID-19 omicron variants. He expects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make recommendations for additional boosters later this year.

To find a vaccine site near you for boosters, initial doses or pediatric doses, visit OurShot.IN.gov or call 211.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

Lauren is the digital editor for our statewide collaboration, and is based in Indianapolis at WFYI. Since starting for IPB News in 2016, she's covered everything from protests and COVID-19 to esports and policy. She's a proud Ball State University alumna and grew up on the west side of Indianapolis.