BA.5 skyrockets in US, now accounting for 78% of cases

BA.5 skyrockets in US, now accounting for 78% of cases

The omicron coronavirus subvariant BA.5 is racing towards complete dominance in the United States, now accounting for around 78% of the country’s cases, which are also on the rise.

The rampant takeover is amazing, with BA.5 showing a significant growth advantage over all other lines and sublines. In the US, this appears to include BA.4, which shares the same spike protein mutations but has different mutations elsewhere in its genome.

In early June, BA.5 accounted for less than 10% of cases, with BA.4 trailing slightly at around 6.4%. Since then, BA.5 has soared to 78%, while BA.4 peaked at 14.4% in early July and has now fallen to 12.8%.

Overall, BA.4 and BA.5 are now collectively dominant, according to analysis by The Washington Post. Based on genetic data compiled in an international repository, BA.4/5 represents 69% of all SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequences worldwide.

Worldwide, cases have increased by 27% in the past two weeks and deaths have increased by 34%, according to data tracking by The New York Times. Similarly, in the United States, cases increased by 20%, hospitalizations by 20%, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions by 19%, and deaths also increased by 9%.

“Always in it”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, transmission levels of SARS-CoV-2 are high or substantial in more than 97% of US counties. Based on the agency’s “COVID-19 Community Levels” metric, which factors in hospital bed availability and admissions as well as case rates, about 75% of U.S. counties are at elevated levels. or means. Specifically, just over 35% of counties are designated at high levels, in which case the CDC recommends masking in indoor public places.

But the number of cases – in the United States and elsewhere – is likely a significant undercount, given that many government testing efforts have backed off and many people are now testing at home and not reporting their results.

In a variant update video released on Tuesday, Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for COVID-19 for the World Health Organization, pointed out that data is becoming increasingly limited, despite the threat of SARS-CoV. -2 which remains high.

“Over 5.7 million cases were reported to WHO last week and these are the cases we know of,” Van Kerkhove said. “And that’s an underestimate, because surveillance activity has dropped significantly around the world, including testing.”

With high transmission, the virus can still spread to the many unvaccinated around the world and evolve into new variants.

“You have to remember that there are hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people who have yet to receive a full course of vaccine, two and a half years into this pandemic, and they are running an increased risk of serious illness and death,” Van Kerkhove said.

People should do whatever they can to reduce the spread, she added. It stands for “masks, distancing, ventilation, get vaccinated, spend more time outdoors than indoors. Work from home when you’re not feeling well. It’s not just about you.. . we are still in this pandemic.”

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