How new ‘mini wave’ of COVID cases in King County is different from past surges

Apr 8, 2022, 8:28 AM
COVID, Seattle, Pike Place...
Seattle's Pike Place Market. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

As mask mandates have faded away and many having returned to pre-pandemic routines, COVID-19 cases have begun to tick back up again.

UW researchers: ‘The pandemic phase of COVID-19 is gone’

In King County, COVID cases have risen by 41% over the seven-day period ending on April 2, albeit with hospitalizations largely remaining unchanged. And as University of Washington Virology head Dr. Keith Jerome notes, there’s a strong chance that case counts could be even higher than what’s being reported.

“I think we’re having a mini wave, or the beginnings of a wave, I don’t know where it’s going to go,” he told KIRO Newsradio’s Dave Ross. “I’ll say this is, there’s probably more COVID out there than we realize because people are doing the tests at home now.”

With public testing sites have scaled back, a large portion of people are performing their own at-home rapid tests, which don’t get reported to local health agencies. For the cases that are getting reported, labs like UW Virology where roughly 2-4% of samples were coming up positive months ago are now seeing that rate rise up over 10%.

Unlike past surges, though, there are factors at play now that could mitigate the severity of the virus as it continues to spread.

“It’s partially about the virus, but it’s also about us,” Dr. Jerome described. “Have we had COVID before? What’s the medical care like? We have a vaccine. Those are generally factors in our favor.”

Europe’s omicron surge ‘totally different’ than what’s expected in Washington

“Hopefully, what we’ll see is that there are more cases, more illness, and then people say, ‘Wow, that was a bad cold,’ or, ‘I missed a couple of days at work,’ or something,” he continued. “And that’s the majority of what we see.”

Looking toward the future, Jerome also notes that collectively we “need to get to the idea that this virus is going to be out there forever.”

“We as a scientific enterprise, as humanity, have eradicated one virus, and that’s smallpox, with a just Herculean global effort,” he explained. “That was kind of the perfect virus to be able to eradicate; this one’s going to be here, and we’re going have to learn to live with it.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

Gingerbread House...
Dave Ross

Ross: The dark paradox of building a gingerbread house

I spent very little time reading up on current issues, and so I have no opinions of any value but I did help a build a gingerbread house.
18 hours ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Lawsuit challenges election officials for a better process

Right now, there are 26,933 ballots statewide being challenged, and some are suing for rejecting ballots just because the signatures don’t match
10 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Another year without any major election fraud issues in sight

We’re three weeks past the election - and, based on what I’m reading, there’s no indication of any organized attempt to change or steal votes
11 days ago
Thanksgiving dinner...
Dave Ross

Ross: How to keep your Thanksgiving peaceful this year

I know Americans define Thanksgiving as a holiday to remind us all why we moved away from our relatives. But it doesn't have to be that way.
16 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Could planes only have one pilot someday?

Just one pilot in the cockpit. That would free up more pilots to compensate for crew shortages, and of course, save money.
16 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Want to solve holiday travel? Just live closer to your family

The answer to solving holiday travel is always the same – the best time to fly is when nobody else is flying.
17 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
How new ‘mini wave’ of COVID cases in King County is different from past surges