New COVID variant: Uptick expected, but cases should be mild

New COVID variant: Uptick expected, but cases should be mild

May 23, 20241 min read

Talk of a new COVID-19 variant can lead to a feeling of shell shock and fears that another wave is approaching. But a University of Delaware epidemiologist says the FLiRT strain will likely cause more of a ripple marked by mild cases as opposed to the waves we became accustomed to four years ago.

Jennifer Horney, professor and founding director of UD's epidemiology program, said that although the number of cases will rise during the summer due to travel, weddings and other large gatherings, the health impact won't be as dire thanks in large part to our existing public immunity.

"What we can expect later in 2024 will likely depend on how well the vaccine advisors are able to anticipate changes to the virus and make recommendations about a vaccine that will become available in Fall 2024," she said.

Horney has been one of the leading sources for media outlets on COVID-19 and served as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Center for Preparedness and Response during the pandemic. She has led interdisciplinary research projects funded by many federal agencies and was part of the public health response to Hurricanes Isabel, Charley, Katrina, Wilma, Irene and Harvey where she conducted rapid assessments of disaster impacts on individual and community health.

Reporters interested in setting up an interview can visit Horney's profile and click on the contact button. The message will reach her directly.

Connect with:
  • Jennifer Horney
    Jennifer Horney Professor and Director, Epidemiology

    Jennifer Horney's research focuses on the health impacts of disasters and public health emergencies including climate change.

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