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COVID cases up as US heads into summer with fewer mitigation measures

Health experts said they're concerned history could once again repeat itself.

ATLANTA — As the U.S. marks Memorial Day and the unofficial start to summer, COVID-19 cases are almost five times higher than what they were one year ago, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of last Friday, the CDC is reporting 110,000 new cases for the seven-day rolling average. On that date last year, the agency reported 23,000 cases for the seven-day rolling average.

Georgia is also seeing an uptick in cases according to the Georgia Department of Public Health's latest information released on May 25. The DPH is reporting 1,600 new cases per day for the seven-day rolling average, compared to 600 cases on that date last year.

Despite widespread vaccinations and available COVID-19 treatments, cases are still trending upward and experts say it can easily be linked, in part, to one significant change.

“The issue is that people are not moving with the data and the times – there’s so much COVID fatigue that people aren’t using those mitigation strategies anymore," explained Atlanta physician, Dr. Frita Fisher.

Mitigation measures have dramatically changed over the last year. 

As the nation headed into the summer months in 2021, many employers still had mask mandates and were requiring vaccinations. Masks were also still being required on all public transportation systems.

By the end of the summer, the CDC was urging people to wear masks while indoors. The city of Atlanta had reinstated its indoor mask mandate by late July.

Frita said she's worried history could repeat itself.

"There is a great chance that we will have another surge after Memorial Day weekend,” she said.

Experts add that as society heads into the busy summer season, people need to be more vigilant than ever with the latest B.A. 2 Omicron variant, which is being dubbed more transmissible and contagious than any other previous strain of COVID-19.

“I want folks to -- despite their COVID-19 and pandemic fatigue -- to still have a community spirit," she said. "So that we can move toward an endemic and get out of the pandemic phase, which we are very much still in."

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