Health officials urge caution as new Omicron variants drive increase in COVID cases

The White Home issued a blunt message to all People over age 50 on Tuesday: get vaccinated towards COVID-19.

“In case you have not gotten a vaccine shot within the 12 months 2022, go get one now. It may save your life,” stated Dr. Ashish Jha, the White Home COVID-19 response coordinator.

The urgency is as a result of explosive unfold of the newest Omicron variants — BA.4 and BA.5 — now accountable for greater than 80% of all new COVID instances, in keeping with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

“BA.4 and BA.5 are our most immune evading variants but,” stated Dr. Celine Gounder, editor-at-large of Kaiser Well being Information.

COVID transmission ranges are at present excessive in a lot of the West, the Southeast and components of the Northeast. A lot of these instances are reinfections. Prior to now, it was anticipated that if an individual contracted COVID previously 90 days, they had been protected towards reinfection.

“The virus is mutating so rapidly and quickly,” Gounder stated. “It’s altering so dramatically, your immune system can have a tougher time preventing off this present wave. We’re already seeing a rise in hospitalizations. The excellent news is that fewer individuals are ending up within the ICU.”

Medical doctors are urging vigilance.

“My largest concern is that individuals are simply exhausted with COVID, and that they don’t seem to be going to do the opposite issues that we all know will stop an infection and transmission – issues like masking, opening home windows,” Gounder stated. “I’m fearful individuals are bored with taking these additional steps.”

The CDC and Meals and Drug Administration could quickly replace their steerage on boosters for all People. Within the meantime, well being officers predict COVID instances to maintain rising within the coming weeks, and suggest that you just get examined earlier than gathering indoors or visiting high-risk folks this summer time.

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