Oct. 26, 2021 -- While the COVID-19 pandemic is settling down nationally, health experts say the advent of winter weather may be bringing an uptick in new infections to the northern part of the United States.

Overall, the number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has decreased sharply since the Delta variant surge peaked in mid-September, The Associated Press reported. The nation is now averaging around 73,000 new cases daily, down from 173,000 on Sept. 13. Overall hospitalizations are also down, especially in Southern states such as Florida that struggled with high case counts over the summer.

But things are not getting better in some states.

"We may be starting to see the Delta surge in the northern parts of the country that were relatively spared over the summer," said John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children's Hospital and an ABC News contributor.

Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wyoming are seeing a higher number of COVID-related hospital admissions, ABC News said.

The PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia foresees increasing case counts in states with low vaccination rates, such as Wyoming.

“Case incidence has remained stubbornly high in the Upper Midwest and across the Mountain States, and we are seeing new evidence of increasing rates across New Mexico into Arizona,” PolicyLab said in an Oct. 8 blog post.

“Counties throughout Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming—all states with lower vaccination coverage—have already demonstrated that the risk to poorly vaccinated regions has remained substantial as days shorten and colder conditions force people back indoors.”

Another bad statistical sign: Daily COVID-related deaths have risen to about 1,700, up from 1,500 two weeks ago, The Associated Press said.

US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN that this winter probably won’t be as bad as last winter because vaccines are widely available.

"We are coming into a colder season, we know respiratory viruses do tend to spread during cold weather season, but there's something we have this winter that we didn't have last winter and that is millions and millions of people who are vaccinated. It's a big deal," Murthy said.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

The Associated Press. “COVID cases falling, but trouble signs arise as winter looms”

ABC News. “Northern states see uptick in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations as weather gets colder”

PolicyLab. “COVID-19 Outlook: We Haven’t Yet Turned the Corner in the North”

CNN. “FDA could authorize a Covid-19 vaccine for kids by this week. Here's the most important thing to do while we wait, CDC director says”

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