The Impact of Rising COVID-19 Rates in These Warm Summer Months

By Dr. Stephanie Paulmeno, Greenwich Public Health Promotion Specialist

Local and national news has been reporting for many days now that COVID-19 rates are on
the rise.

During the warm summer months, respiratory ailments tend to be low. This rise in numbers is atypical, so what should we make of this now that the pandemic was declared “ended” on May 11, 2023?

Perhaps the rise in numbers is an effect of the unprecedented and prolonged heat wave that has swept across our country causing many to seek shelter indoors where few people wear masks any more even when in stranger-groups.

It is important that we consider certain facts when assessing this summer-time rise in COVID-19 numbers. It is true, but not uniformly so. We also need to consider how we analyze our risk as a country, a state, and county, as well as an individual:

• Not all states are equally impacted by the rising COVID-19 numbers; the numbers of cases, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths vary by state, as well as within states. In Connecticut and Fairfield County the COVID-19 rate is low in all categories (CDC COVID Data Tracker: Home) and ( ). (For Spanish translation of data reports go to Rastreador de datos del COVID de los CDC: Trends by Geographic Area )

• During the prior week (7-29-23 to 8-2-23) the CDC showed Connecticut to have experienced no COVID-19 related loss of life (0% change) ( In Fairfield County the highest number of ED visits was in those 75 and older, and there were just 23 COVID-19 related hospital admissions in Fairfield County, which was less than a 10% change from the week before. There were 103 COVID-19 related hospitalizations across the entire state.

• Many who contract COVID-19 have few to no symptoms and may never visit a hospital or healthcare provider. If they do not get diagnosed or test positive for COVID at a lab, they will not be reflected in local, state, or national data, so we know are numbers are higher that recorded; we just don’t know how much higher. This is fine for those people if they are not in a high-risk group, but this can leave high-risk or unprotected people at risk, sometimes significant risk, if they become exposed to someone with COVID-19.

• We need to consider our own and/or our families’ individual risk factors for contracting COVID-19 (Factors That Affect Your Risk of Getting Very Sick from COVID-19 | CDC) (In Spanish: Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades CDC )? What are high-risk people doing to prevent themselves from contracting COVID-19, and protecting others from them if they become ill? The high-risk person could be a child, who will be dependent on their parents to protect them. COVID-19 continues to circulate among us in various mutations and it continues to infect people. The latest COVID-19 Variant, EG.5, which is even more contagious than the previous COVID-19 variants (but not more lethal) is reported to be causing around 17% of the new COVID-19 cases in the USA (New Covid variant: EG.5 is on the rise as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations go up | CNN) and (09082023EG (

Despite not making people more ill than earlier Omicron variants, more people are becoming infected, which accounts for the rise in the numbers of cases, emergency visits and hospitalizations; but that 17% represents only those we know are infected. Those who home test, as well as the asymptomatic and ill people who never test, do not show up in the data.

There are many ways we can protect ourselves (and others) if we choose to do so.

Know if YOU or a family member is at high risk for contracting COVID-19/becoming very ill if you do:

(Factors That Affect Your Risk of Getting Very Sick from COVID-19 | CDC) (For Spanish: Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades CDC)

• COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 years of age and older:
( (For Spanish: Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades CDC). Vaccines do not prevent you from becoming infected; they prevent you from getting very ill if you do become infected. Even with vaccines, some people with severe underlying illnesses and autoimmune conditions as well as those of advanced age can still become ill enough to require hospitalization and emergency care, but this too has been made significantly better with the advent of antibody infusions and COVID-19 antiviral medications like Paxlovid and Mulnupiravir

(To locate a COVID-19 vaccine near you go to – Find COVID19 vaccine locations near you OR text your ZIP CODE to 438829, OR call 1-800-232-0233.

Take steps to improve the ventilation in your home, apartment, business, and in our schools:
(Improving Ventilation in Your Home | CDC ) (For Spanish: Centros para el Control y la Prevención de
Enfermedades CDC

Stay home/Keep your kids home when sick or if you or they test COVID positive:
Follow recommendations for isolation if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 (For Spanish: Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades CDC), and Follow the recommendations for what to do if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 (For Spanish: Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades CDC).

• Keep away from people with known COVID-19.

If you are pregnant you and your baby are considered to be at high risk:
The CDC says, “People with COVID-19 during pregnancy are more likely to experience complications that can affect their pregnancy and developing baby compared to people without COVID-19 during pregnancy. For example, COVID-19 during pregnancy increases the risk of delivering a preterm (earlier than 37 weeks) or stillborn infant. People with COVID-19 during pregnancy may also be more likely to have other pregnancy complications (Pregnant and Recently Pregnant People | CDC)

• Learn how to protect yourself if YOU are immunocompromised: People Who Are Immunocompromised | CDC

Our health and safety is largely in our own hands, and an informed health-consumer will be well armed to look after themselves and their families.