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Expert Describes Recent COVID Surge As 'A Flash Flood' As More People Test Positive For The Virus

CHICAGO (CBS) – In Chicago and the suburbs, it's being called a tidal wave of cases as numbers of COVID patients increase following the recent surge.

CBS 2's Chris Tye continues coverage with what families with one or two cases in their home should be thinking about as quarantine and isolation have begun.

When the virus goes from theoretical and out in the world to right down the hall, mindsets change. It's normal, and some unconventional ideas start to take shape.

Leading medical experts say "stick to the science."

Chris: Is it safe to say that at some point everybody is going to get this thing? 

Dr. Murphy: I think so.

Dr. Robert Murphy of Northwestern says a wave of cases doesn't quite capture what's going on right now.

"We didn't really have a wave, it's been described by others as a flash flood."

And it's flooding thousands of Chicago-area households in these post-holiday weeks.

Let's say, as is the case in many homes right now, two members of your household test positive, but two others remain negative. Murphy says resist the temptation to think "let's just all get this over with together."

"You have to get out of that mindset completely please," said Dr. Murphy. "COVID is a potentially life-threatening disease. The long-term consequences, these long haulers. We don't know with Omicron, whether it's going to be higher or lower or whatever."

Also getting it today doesn't mean avoiding it down the road.

Chris: Why do some people get this twice and some people don't?

Dr. Murphy: That is a good question. Immunity to the virus is weak. It only lasts for a couple months then you are at risk again.

He says vaccines are the most impressive shields -- offering more protection than having had COVID in the past. Less impressive -- the federal response overall.

The inability to get reliable, rapid testing is just one component of a country whose report card is in.

"As a country, we have done terribly our public health grade is a failure, we got an F," Dr. Murphy said.

The doctor says the decision to drop from 10 days to five the isolation window for those testing positive failed to take into account so many factors.

And that the reason the grades for fighting this is so bad, that with the exception of funding and research and guidance, health care in this country is a state by state enterprise. Leaving 50 different approaches muddying the waters.

Meanwhile, testing for COVID-19 could become easier in Illinois. Beginning Monday, the state's community-based testing sites will be open six days a week – every day except Sunday.

To find a testing facility near you, follow this link.

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