The New Normal: A COVID-19 surge is expected this holiday season. How can you keep your family safe?

News 12’s Elizabeth Hashagen was joined by Dr. Daniel Griffin, the chief of the division of infectious disease at ProHEALTH, to discuss a possible uptick in COVID-19 cases this winter.
A new surge of COVID-19 cases is expected to start hitting the U.S. around Thanksgiving, just as the holiday season begins, according to the latest projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington's School of Medicine
Griffin says it is an ongoing pattern that case numbers go up in the colder months because people are driven to be inside. He says he expects cases to go up after Thanksgiving and at the start of January, after the holidays.
What are the differences between the common cold, flu and COVID-19?
Griffin says in an unvaccinated population, thousands of people die per day from COVID-19. In fully vaccinated populations, there may be numbers that are more consistent to what is seen with influenza, which is around 100 deaths per day. However, with influenza, 90% of deaths are unvaccinated people.
Griffin also says testing has gotten more accurate and advanced and can clearly distinguish between COVID-19, influenza A and influenza B.
Griffin says there is still a chunk of the population that is unvaccinated, but getting those who are willing to get the shot will make a difference.
What does the data say about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for children?
Griffin says over one 1 million children got vaccinated in the last week in the U.S. and there have been no safety signals, or adverse events that call for further investigation.
Griffin says one of the things health experts have noticed with vaccines over decades of research is that if there is a safety signal, it will be seen within eight weeks. It only takes this amount of time to see what the long-term impacts could be.
Are there any studies on booster shots for pregnant women?
Griffin says a lot of pregnant women have gotten booster shots and there have been no safety signals.
He says he wanted to wait to see the data before broadly saying that all pregnant women should get booster shots. However, he emphasizes that pregnant women are at high risk of hospitalization and even death from COVID-19, so vaccines are highly recommended.
Griffin says COVID-19 is here to stay. Those who aren't vaccinated and haven’t gotten the virus yet, it’s only a question of when they will get COVID-19.