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COVID-19's presence is declining in Florida, but should we brace for a winter surge?

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says entire nation could face another "dark winter" if Americans don't get vaccinated.
Credit: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
People wearing protective face masks walk along Ocean Drive during the coronavirus pandemic, Friday, July 24, 2020, in Miami Beach, Fla.

FLORIDA, USA — As the days go on, it seems like the latest wave of COVID-19 is losing its grip on Florida. For more than a month now, the state has been seeing cases drop at a steady pace.

But, we've been here before. Just this time last year, Florida had gotten over its first summer surge. However, as the winter months crept in, cases once again began rising at record numbers. So, are we in for another pandemic winter?

Well, according to the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the entire nation could face another "dark winter" if Americans don't get vaccinated at a "very high degree" in the next few months. 

The reason is due to a possible "twindemic" of COVID-19 and the flu. Millions of people get sick from the flu every year and tens of thousands are hospitalized. 

Last year, researchers found pandemic precautions like masks and social distancing helped stop the spread of the flu and other common viruses. But, with much of the country relaxing those health measures, there is worry flu and COVID cases could once again spike.

However, there is some room for optimism. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a little more than 56 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and more than 65 percent have received at least one dose. In Florida, more than 11.3 million people are fully vaccinated.

If vaccine hesitancy declines and more people start receiving doses in droves, then the worst could be avoided. 

However, as Fauci said, that's if people continue to get vaccinated.