A rapidly spreading strain of the novel coronavirus that is adding new cases around the world is in Arizona and is expected to become even more dominant there.
“EG.5 does not appear to pose a serious public health threat, but we are monitoring it closely,” Efrem Lim, a virologist at Arizona State University, wrote in an email.
EG.5, nicknamed “Ellis,” accounted for an estimated 17.3% of new coronavirus infections in the United States in the two weeks ended Aug. was the most prevalent strain in A show of control and prevention.
In Arizona, according to the latest data, an estimated 13 to 15 percent of new infections are due to Ellis, said David Engelthaler, head of the Infectious Diseases Division at the Arizona-based Translational Genomics Institute. It is said that it is. He stressed that estimates are not as accurate as they used to be, both nationally and in Arizona, because sequencing of the virus as a whole is declining.
According to the World Health Organization, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), EG. The 5 submutants do not appear to pose a greater threat to public health than the other variants. WHO officials say EG.5 is behind the rising number of new coronavirus infections around the world, including in the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Canada.
“This is definitely becoming one of the more common subspecies, and it seems to be on the rise elsewhere, and could be one of the most dominant in Arizona and other parts of the United States. high,” said Engelthaler.
“This is the latest version of omicron”
EG.5 is a descendant of the XBB.1.9.2 micron subvariant. This means that the virus is a separate omicron sublineage that diverges as it evolves over time, Lim said. Most of the other coronavirus cases in Arizona are split between the XBB.1.5 and XBB.1.16 micron subvariants, he said.
Engelthaler said that EG.5 is a subvariant of the Omicron strain, so he does not consider it a major public health concern.
Engelthaler said, “It’s more of a boring sequel than a summer blockbuster.” “It’s just the latest version of Omicron. And really everything we’ve seen in the last year and a half is completely Omicron, and they all behave like Omicron.”
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Omicron submutants have the same characteristics. They spread easily and seem to evade antibodies, which is why new submutants keep popping up, he said.
“But perhaps most importantly, it still causes novel coronaviruses that are generally mild. This is really good news. Over the past year and a half, we’ve seen something new and more serious emerge. I haven’t seen it,” he said. He said. “It’s all Omicron that everyone is transmitting, and it’s just giving us the same awful new coronavirus cold, which is no different than many other human coronaviruses. .”
The federal public health emergency over COVID-19 ended in May, but the virus hasn’t gone away. Although severe cases and deaths are much lower than at the height of the pandemic, they still occur.
Since the pandemic began, state health officials have reported 33,698 deaths from COVID-19, with 12 deaths in the week ending Aug. 5. Nationwide, 1.14 million people have died due to the novel coronavirus. Nationwide, there were 473 COVID-19 deaths in the week ending July 15. CDC data shows that.
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Arizona reported nearly 2,000 new coronavirus cases in the week ending Aug. 5, according to state health statistics.
Arizona Department of Health spokesman Tom Herman said in an email Thursday afternoon that EG.5 is likely to become the dominant variant over time, as the proportion of EG.5 increases each month. ‘ said.
“It’s hard to say what impact the new Mikron subvariant will have on those infected here in Arizona. At the moment, the number of cases has increased slightly four weeks ago but remains at the same high level. ”
A new COVID-19 booster is expected this fall
According to the Maricopa County Public Health Department, new COVID-19 cases are expected in September.
“People who are concerned about their particular situation and potential risks should discuss the timing of booster immunizations with their health care provider,” ministry spokeswoman Sonia Singh wrote in an email.
The new COVID-19 booster is based on the XBB.1.5 variant, making it more similar to the current virus strain, Lim said. So it’s worth getting a new booster instead of an old one based on the old BA.4 and BA.5 variants, he said. However, if COVID-19 cases spike in early fall or new boosters are delayed, consider bivalent boosters for those at high risk of severe COVID-19. Lim added that there may be a need.
Engelthaler said healthy people who received a bivalent COVID-19 booster therapy last year or this year would best wait for a new booster therapy to get a closer look at the circulating variant. said to be expected to match.
“I don’t think getting a booster now would actually make a lot of money,” Engelthaler said. “Except for people who have very difficult time maintaining any kind of immunity, it’s usually immunosuppressed people and the elderly, usually over the age of 75.”
Maricopa County Public Health is encouraging residents to get all recommended respiratory virus vaccines by the end of October to take precautions before the holiday season. Those vaccines include COVID-19, influenza, and in some populations, Novel respiratory syncytial virus, respiratory syncytial virus vaccine.There is another one for babies Recommended for seniors over 60 based on shared decision making with your healthcare provider.
New variants of COVID-19 are likely to emerge, but following traditional COVID-19 prevention recommendations is the best way to protect yourself. No, writes Herrmann.
State and county health officials advise the following precautions:
- Get the latest information about COVID-19 vaccination.
- Stay home when sick or wear a mask if you can’t.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and avoid touching your face.
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