Arizona COVID-19 cases are up, but symptoms are much milder, doctor says

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are up in the state, so an Arizona doctor is explaining the trends going on 5 months after January's omicron variant surge.

Many are testing positive for COVID-19 right now after making it through the entire pandemic without getting sick.

Family physician in Phoenix, Dr. Andrew Carrol says this spike is likely because people are more relaxed with COVID-19 safety protocols.

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"Over the last 2 to 3 weeks, we have been busier than we ever have been," Carrol says. More than half of the patients he has been seeing either have the virus or have been exposed to it.

The numbers on the Arizona Department of Health Services website show a similar trend – that the number of cases have on the rise in recent weeks compared to the very low numbers reported in April of this year.

"The COVID waves have been just unpredictable. We can't tell what makes the waves happen, but I am certain that this time around is due to kids getting out of school," Carrol said. " … people returning from vacation, and now they are sick."

The good news, Carroll says, is the sickness is much milder, with many experiencing more headache-like symptoms rather than the high number of patients dealing with respiratory issues we have seen in the past.

"I don't think it is because the disease itself is milder. Most people have been immunized or have had the illness before, so they have some degree of immunity, so it isn't as bad because they were already sick before," he explained.

Carroll says the main variant still spreading right now is omicron.

He says if you are healthy, a vaccine and a booster are beneficial. If you have any comorbidities, he says boosters will help fight the virus.