Third Coronavirus Wave Is Already Here, UC San Diego Doctor Says

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San Diego has regressed into the Purple Tier and the country has been setting daily coronavirus case records nearly every day, but it appears the worst could be yet to come.

Health experts say COVID-19, like the common cold and other respiratory illnesses, survives best in colder weather, which is also when we are more susceptible.

UC San Diego ear nose and throat specialist Dr. Paul Schalch Lepe said we are in what he calls the first phase of this third wave of the virus. 

“We're having 120,000-plus cases per day that are being detected, so of course that wave is already there,” Lepe said.

The increased threat brought on by the seasonal change has created a perfect storm, according to Dr. Lepe.

“You have the colder temperature, you have people behaving differently in a sense they are spending more time in doors,” he explained.

While there has been recent good news on the vaccine front, Dr. Lepe isn’t optimistic about it coming to our aid during this third wave.

“It  will definitely have an effect longer term to eventually get us out of the pandemic, but for what’s happening right now with this third wave, unfortunately I don't think it is going to have much of an affect,” he said.

An increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, more serious cases and deaths are the next phases of the wave, according to Dr. Lepe.

While there is nothing to do about those who already test positive, there is a lot we can do to reduce the impact of further phases.  

“Continue to encourage mask wearing, distancing, hand hygiene and all the other measures we have been talking about the last several months,” Dr. Lepe said.

The U.S. reported 144,000 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, making eight days in a row with more than 100,000 cases reported. Nationwide there are more than 10 million cases, and 240,000 deaths.

In San Diego there have been more than 61,000 cases that have led to 915 deaths.

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