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COVID-19 cases are rising sharply again — should we worry? – Times-Herald

Are we here again?

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise again across the country, fueled by more contagious subtypes of the virus, and health experts are unsure whether the vaccine and immunity will be protected enough to prevent another wave of infection.

Nearly a third of the country is now experiencing high or high levels of COVID transmission over the past seven days, including most high-level Bay Area counties, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But now, more than two years into the pandemic, what exactly does that mean for a serious illness?

COVID’s hospitalizations have grown by more than 30% in the last two weeks in New York State, said Dr. Céline Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist and Kaiser Health News ’Editor-in-Chief of Public Health. “The situation in the northeast could predict what will come in the bay area.”

Death rates, for the most part, have not yet risen, but in previous waves, the trend of hospitalizations continued.

The rising numbers follow a relatively short break in the national winter season driven by highly contagious omicron variants. Omicron began to spread in December, a month later when infections peaked and then dropped sharply in February and March.

Nationwide, the average number of daily cases has risen by more than 70% since the end of March, although they remain below omicron and delta peaks, and hospitalization rates appear to be declining. In California, the average number of daily cases has risen by more than 50% since the end of March.

There was a bounce when U.S. officials revoked a public transport mask order after a Florida judge ruled that they were beyond their control, people from all places disguised in airplanes, buses, subways and train carriages. Although the federal government is appealing the court’s ruling, many airlines and transportation operators have indicated that the mask’s order will not be returned soon.

New CDC data on Thursday showed that he had left the predominantly contagious BA.2 variant of omicro, which was prevalent in January, to his more contagious cousin BA.2, who now takes up three out of four cases across the country. And BA.2 is being given to an even faster spreading sister, BA.2.12.1, now one in five cases.

Wastewater management tells a similar story nationally and in the Bay Area, with two-thirds wastewater sites across the country reporting an increase in virus levels.

Experts are watching carefully.

The CDC focused on it community level assessment in February to prioritize how the virus affects the capacity of local hospitals over case levels. This new measure remains low in 94% of U.S. counties.

But that has also changed over the past week for New York, where many counties are listed at the red level recommended by the CDC for wearing masks in public interiors. Deaths have also begun to rise in the Empire State, although the rate remains low.

Although the BA.2 omicron substrate has been on the rise in cases and hospitalizations in Europe and Asia, health experts are not sure how much it will happen here in the US, where two-thirds of Americans have been vaccinated, 45% of whom had one. booster and many have been cured of the latest COVID-19 infection.

In a presentation to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors last week, Dr. Sara Cody, the county’s chief health officer, said she was driving BA.2 “which now looks like the beginning of a wave; we certainly hope it’s not taking off.”

But Cody added, “It looks like we have a pretty good wall of immunity here in our county and in the bay area, both in vaccines and through all the omicron infections that the population has just ripped off.”

“I think that’s why this new BA.2, although more infectious, couldn’t get a place like the omicron,” Cody said. But he warned that “in two years’ time we should not only be humble … We should always do what we do and watch the trends carefully and see what happens.”

Ali H. Mokdad of the Institute of Metric Health and Assessment at the University of Washington, who publishes carefully monitored COVID-19 projections, said he anticipates a rise in cases where the latter will rise in less than a month earlier this month.

“We anticipate that we will have a coup in the cases, but it will be short-term,” said Mokdad, who previously worked at the CDC. But he said that as newer mutations in the virus are emerging abroad, it is not the time to worry about the virus and that the US should step up its efforts to control cases and make treatments available.

“COVID-19 is not over with us,” Mokdad said. “She’s waiting for something wrong.”

Gounder said: “It’s too early to tell how people should worry about BA.2 and BA2.12.1.” Whether the rise in infections will lead to serious illness, hospitalization and death, he said, will depend on vaccination rates, especially among the elderly and other vulnerable populations.

Dr. John Swartzberg, Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley School of Public Health, noted that although BA.2.12.1 is more transmissible than BA.2, it does not appear to be more virulent. However, he said it is not a good time to throw masks on passengers, buses and train cars. Los Angeles County health officials decided to maintain the requirement for local airports and public transportation.

“Removing a valuable non-medication tool in the face of a growing number of infections, where no one knows if it will be a blip or something deep, seems completely inappropriate,” Swartzberg said.

Cody told the county council that “with each generation, the virus becomes more infectious” and that if it is not more virulent, it could lead to more hospitalizations and deaths. Bay Area News Group analysis The more contagious variant of Omikron killed more Californians at its peak last year than the virulent delta variants of last summer, including more vaccines and promoted ones.

“It’s that infection that drives up case rates,” Cody said. “And so, even on an individual level, it’s likely to be a serious disease, at the population level, that can aggravate a hospital because of the large number of people who get sick. A small proportion of a large number can still be large. ».

Writer Harriet Rowan helped.

COVID-19 cases are rising sharply again — should we worry? – Times-Herald Source link COVID-19 cases are rising sharply again — should we worry? – Times-Herald

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