White House bracing for possible nationwide COVID-19 surge during fall, winter months

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The White House says it's bracing for a challenging fall and winter with a dire prediction of a nationwide COVID-19 surge.

In Southern California, new data reveals how Black and Latinx communities were hit harder than other groups with every patient surge.

New public health data reveals Black and brown residents had infection rates two and four times higher than white and Asian residents, and death rates two to three times higher.

Los Angeles County also reported new positive cases topping 3,000 two days in a row.

Now, new modeling predicts that 100 million Americans could become infected with COVID-19 over the next few months if the government can't secure more funding for COVID-19 relief

The expectation is based on various projections offering different potential scenarios. Not included is the probability of a new variant that could throw a curveball into the mix. It's a possibility that can't be ruled out, given the rapid changes in the current omicron variant.

"Those that are unvaccinated make up a large portion of those that are in hospitals," said ABC Medical Contributor, Dr. John Brownstein.

This comes as the White House is negotiating for funding to secure billions of dollars in aid for new and improved vaccines and therapeutics.

"We're not going to have vaccines for the American people. We're going to run out of treatments for the American people,' said Dr. Ashish Jha, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator. "We're not going to have diagnostic testing. It's a pretty bad situation. I think congress is going to step up and do the right thing. They have to."

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At least 37 states are reporting an uptick in hospitalizations, and more Americans are turning to the drug Paxlovid to fight COVID-19 with its use up 10-fold in recent weeks.

Scientists are now investigating some reports of a relapse in COVID-19 symptoms.

"Right now what we're seeing is about 2%, so 1 out of 50 people end up having some sort of recurrence," Jha said. "None of those people have in the clinical trials gone on to get particularly sick or end up in the hospital."

After taking the five-day course, 63-year-old Lauren Martin tested negative and started to feel better, but a week later her symptoms reappeared.

"My symptoms, second time around, especially just right from that first day, were stronger than my symptoms the first time around," said Martin.

In clinical trials, Paxlovid cut the risk of hospitalization by nearly 90%.

The Food and Drug Administration says there is no evidence that taking more Paxlovid will help patients who see a resurgence of symptoms. The statement comes a day after top Pfizer executives said people could seek another round.

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