NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)COVID-19 cases are surging across the country. More than 100,000 new cases were reported Wednesday – a new record.

So, are we about to enter a deadly third wave of coronavirus? CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports on why health officials are worried and preparing for the worst.

Many people are calling this a third wave of COVID, but it’s really the latest and largest spike in what is still the first wave.

Experts are concerned for several reasons, including: the coming of winter and holiday seasons, the geographic spread of the virus, and spotty adherence to mask wearing and social distancing.

Even a quick glance at U.S. COVID cases as tracked by The New York Times reveals some ups and downs, but a clear trend now topping 107,000 cases daily.

Experts say hospitalizations, then deaths, will soon follow. In fact, that’s already happening.

The numbers are spiking in previously unscathed rural areas that have far fewer medical resources to deal with a pandemic, which experts say is just as concerning.

“Even younger people are getting it and some of them end up being hospitalized. And this puts a bigger burden on the medical system, not only take care of those patients, but it kind of displaces people with normal illnesses. And that becomes a problem because they don’t get the proper care that they normally would because they’re afraid to go in,” said Northwell Health’s Dr. Mark Jarrett.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Northwell Health’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer said all hospital systems in the area are preparing for what’s shaping up to be the worst COVID outbreak yet. Supplies are stockpiled, treatments are better and a vaccine may be available, but where Tri-State hospitals could previously bring in staff from across the country, that will now be impossible because of the nationwide outbreak.

Winter is also when people will be crowded indoors, greatly increasing the chances of virus transmission. That’s also why Dr. Jarrett said this is the holiday season to not gather in person.

Maybe do your Thanksgiving, Chanukah or Christmas safely via Zoom and keep wearing a mask.

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