Meet the Omicron Variant , BA.5, that Has COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalization, and Death On the Rise

After catching the COVID-19 virus during the first wave of the highly transmittable Omicron, many people believed they would be less likely to catch the new variant, BA.5. Unfortunately, this new variant, which is responsible for the rise in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, ‘substantially evades’ antibodies from both vaccination and prior infection, according to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

Currently, “the BA.5 variant is now the most dominant strain of COVID-19 in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while it’s hard to get an exact count — given how many people are taking rapid tests at home — there are indications that both reinfections and hospitalizations are increasing.”

According to Dr. Bob Wachter, the chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, the variant is highly contagious and transmissible. It also sidesteps immunity from previous infections and vaccines.

“Not only is it more infectious, but your prior immunity doesn’t count for as much as it used to,” he explains. “And that means that the old saw that, ‘I just had COVID a month ago, and so I have COVID immunity superpowers, I’m not going to get it again’ — that no longer holds.”

So, what do we do to mitigate our chances of getting reinfected or catching the virus for the first time?

  • MASK UP! Especially while indoors and in crowded places such as the grocery store, movie theaters, restaurants, airports!, etc.
  • If you haven’t received a jab, schedule your appointment immediately and get one. If you qualify for a second booster, get it and get it now. Remember, no one knows the ‘Pumpkin Magic’ number of antibodies to provide protection from COVID-19. “Getting an antibody test to determine immunity is a fool’s errand, infectious-disease doctors agree.”
  • Follow the CDC Guidelines and not some ridiculous, unproven or debunked nonsense you read on some website notorious for misinformation and lack of scientific evidence. You could end up dead!
  • If you feel sick or exhibit signs of COVID-19, STAY HOME and ISOLATE! Do not spread this highly contagious and potentially deadly virus. While isolating, wear a mask if other members of your household are present and disinfect all surfaces you may have come in contact with.

On the positive, there is no evidence that suggests the BA.5 is more deadly that previous variants or causes more serious illness because the country is better equipped to manage it.

According to Dr. Anna Durbin, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the combination of prior infections and vaccinations is still protective, and COVID-19 treatments are better. Antiviral medication has prevented a rise in deaths and new booster that is Omicron specific is expected to roll out in the fall and help slow a winter surge of the virus, which will also prove helpful in preventing serious illness and deaths.


Another Good Listen:

California’s Response to Omicron:

California’s seven-day test positivity rate is at 16.1%, as of July 12, an increase from 4.3% on May 11, according to the state’s public health dashboard. Reported COVID case numbers have remained steady with 36.1 new cases per 100,000, (Bigly Concept: Per Capita) but hospitalizations with confirmed cases have jumped from the last week — at more than 4,000.

According to Dr. Stuart Cohen, infectious disease professor and chief of UC Davis Health’s division of infectious diseases:

  • Preventing infection from BA.5 with vaccines is probably limited, if it provides any protection at all.
  • As the virus continues to mutate, it becomes different from what the vaccine was designed against.
  • But, vaccines can minimize the amount of damage that the virus causes.
  • Those who are experiencing severe infection are unvaccinated people.

Many parents struggle with the decision to get their young children vaccinated. “Although most children with COVID do fine, recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that children ages 6 months to 4 years who get the virus have higher rates of emergency room visits and hospitalizations than older children. Even though young children rarely die of COVID, it is a leading cause of death among children under 5, surpassing rates from all other pediatric vaccine-preventable diseases.”

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