Amid a growing COVID-19 boom overseas, there are renewed concerns among health officials in the United States that the spread of the highly transmissible oomicron subvariant BA.2 may lead to decreased vaccine immunity and the decision to end masking recommendations. It is possible. The country will face another viral resurgence.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, White’s chief medical adviser, said: “What we are seeing in Europe, and especially in the UK, is something that we really need to pay attention to as they see a reversal and a resurgence of cases. Starting to see.” House told “GMA3” on Friday. “So even though our cases are declining, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next few weeks … we may well see an increase in cases.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 23.1% of new cases in the US are BA.2. Studies estimate that BA.2 is 30% to 80% more contagious than the original strain, and federal data shows its presence in the US is doubling almost every week.
Already there are early signs that the nation may be on the verge of an uptick as the nation begins to see a plateau in the rate of infections and hospitalizations, which were declining earlier.
Earlier this week, wastewater data shared by the CDC showed that between February 24 and March 10, 37% of wastewater sites monitored by the CDC had COVID-19 in their wastewater. Have seen an increase of 100% or more in the presence of the virus. , About 30% of these sites have seen an increase of 1,000% or more
Nationwide, new data shows hospitalizations related to COVID-19 are showing a plateau after weeks of steady decline. Over the past two months, hospitalization levels were falling dramatically, but those daily declines have steadily declined over the past week.
There are now about 23,000 patients in hospital related to the virus, according to federal figures.
“You just passed the wave of the most transmissible #SARSCoV2 variant ever seen in the world, with the highest level of hospitalization,” said Dr. Eric Topol, Professor of Molecular Medicine at Scripps Research. said in a tweet on Thursday. “Now you’re facing a type [with] 30% higher transmittance, [without] mitigation measures, less [vaccination] coverage, and gutting funding.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky said on Thursday that she also thinks cases of the new virus may increase with the BA.2 outbreak in the US, warning that it is “definitely … possible” That the mask recommendations would have to be re-implemented.
“We want to make sure that when things go well, people have the opportunity to relax their mitigation strategies, as they are now,” Valensky said during a panel discussion with the Bipartisan Policy Center.
“But then, they should put that mask in a drawer, because if we have more cases in the winter time, if we have more cases because of the new version, we want to make sure that people have The opportunity is to take those masks off so we can reapply them and protect people if we need them again,” he added.
Officials are closely monitoring the viral resurgence overseas, Valensky said, and are looking for clues as to what it might do to the crisis in the US.
However, overseas, similar to the previous Omicron boom, there are signs of hope that should there be a resurgence, intensive care units and morgues will not be overwhelmed as in the previous boom. In the UK, ICU capacity has not yet increased significantly, which experts say could eventually prevent a significant spike in virus-related deaths.
“Their intensive care bed use isn’t increasing, which means they’re not seeing a blip of serious illness,” Fauci told ABC News’ Brad Mielke podcast “Start Here,” in an interview that aired Friday. . Authorities in the UK have not reported an increase in severity due to the BA.2 subvariant.
Fauci said the best way to avoid a significant surge would be to vaccinate and promote.
Earlier this week, the CDC released data showing that vaccines still dramatically reduce the risk of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19.
In January, unvaccinated adults were nine times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals, and six times more likely to be hospitalized. Non-vaccinated adults were nearly 21 times more likely to die from COVID-19 in January, and 12 times more likely to be hospitalized than fully vaccinated and grown adults.
Although breakthrough COVID-19 infections increased during the omicron wave in February, unvaccinated adults were still 2.8 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than fully vaccinated individuals, and fully The vaccinated and grown were 3.2 times more likely to test positive than adults. ,
Experts say Americans must be resilient and prepared to face the challenges of the future that may present themselves as the pandemic moves into the next phase.
“We are not doing as much with this pandemic as we would like to,” Dr. Ashish Jha, the new White House COVID-19 coordinator, said during an appearance on “Good Morning America” on Friday. “We have to be prepared for whatever the pandemic throws at us.”