summertime covid

Forgotten but not gone. Summer means another COVID wave is here. – Nick Landekic

by Nick Landekic, contributing writer

Summer is here, and along with it the expected increase in COVID infections. While it’s possible to become infected any time of the year, since the start of the pandemic we have experienced surges in the summer and winter, driven by the cycles of variant evolution and larger number of people gathering to socialize. That means taking some precautions if you want to avoid getting sick.

While we all would love to completely forget about COVID the unfortunate reality is that it’s still very much with us and will be for the foreseeable future. Because of imprudent political pressures and a federal CDC that seems to be asleep at the job much of the monitoring and information on COVID has been discontinued this year.

However, in the past two weeks hospitalizations for COVID have increased 25% and deaths up 17%. COVID wastewater monitoring has been scaled way back in a foolhardy seemingly ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ attitude but is increasing in all parts of the country, with much of the west, and Connecticut, at high levels.

The closest COVID WasteWaterScan site to Rhode Island is now Worcester MA, which has shown high levels of virus for the past month and a half.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to evolve and mutate very quickly. The latest variant is called KP.3 and now accounts for about 1/3 of all infections. It also appears about 1.5 -3 times more contagious than previous variants.

Scientific research continues to uncover a great deal of new and concerning information about the virus, including being potentially linked to causing an increase in certain cancers, and Parkinson’s Disease. Long COVID has been shown to cause many other health problems including decreased I.Q. and cognitive functioning. Tens of millions of people have persistent Long COVID problems months and years after infection.

The risks and consequences of COVID infection are not the same for everyone. Talk with your doctor whether you might want to be a little more careful as we enjoy the summer. In general, some groups are at higher risk of becoming infected, and of worse outcomes from infection.

Some things to keep in mind…

  1. Anyone can get infected but older people are generally at higher risk than the younger. If you are over 50 and especially 60, you may want to take precautions.
  • Masks work, and work very well. A great many studies have repeatedly shown that a N95 (or equivalent KN95, KF94, or FFP2 mask) worn properly can significantly reduce your risk of becoming infected, and even reduce the severity of illness if you do become infected (by reducing the number of virions inhaled). Consider wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces.
  • Vaccines are an important tool. A reformulated vaccine targeting a newer variant is expected to be available this fall. If you haven’t received a COVID vaccine booster lately talk with your doctor about whether it would be best for you to get one now or wait for the reformulated fall booster.

For anyone wanting more information there are some great resources available:

  • The People’s CDC is an independent group of public health practitioners, scientists, healthcare workers, and others working to reduce the armful impacts of COVID.

Summer in New England is glorious. It’s even more fun if you stay healthy.

Editor’s Note: One local nursing home is beginning to text families with COVID concerns and experiencing an uptick at their facility.


Nick Landekic of Bristol is a retired scientist and biotechnology entrepreneur who has spent more than 35 years working in the pharmaceutical industry.

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