Now that the holiday season is over, the United States is experiencing the aftermath in terms of the viral transmission of COVID-19.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention states that nearly 50 percent of all cases have possibly been caused by a new, quick spreading Omicron subvariant referred to as XBB.1.5.
The XBB.1.5 is apparently responsible for about 43 percent of all cases in the United States as of last week.
Since this new subvariant is really transmissible, it is able to bypass some aspects of the immunity provided by the vaccine or natural antibodies.
That being said, experts stressed that booster shots are still efficient in protecting people against more severe symptoms, hospitalization or even death.
As per the General of The World Health Organisation, this subvariant has been identified in more than 25 countries around the world and continues to increase in numbers.
Experts have made it very clear that people still need to take precautions including wearing facemasks, taking boosters, as well as antivirals and ensuring ventilation.
Unfortunately, the turnout for the latest booster has been really low.
That being said, the CDC has stated that hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at the fourth highest rate of the whole pandemic, with hospitals unfortunately being at full capacity.
Brendan Williams, the President of the New Hampshire Health Care Association, shared that “I am not sure what the trajectory of this thing is going to be, but I’m worried.”
Furthermore, the COVID-caused deaths in the United States have increased by no less than 44 percent in the first week of 2023.
The CDC have also mentioned that other Omicron subvariants, namely BQ.1.1 and BQ.1, have been contributing to the high case numbers as well.
Professor of medicine and infectious diseases, Stuart Ray, also warned people that immunity against the virus tends to decline over time, which is why boosters are still so relevant.
“Boosters really make a difference. The severe cases we’re seeing are probably at least somewhat avoidable, if folks make sure they stay updated on vaccination, because that is still the safest way to gain immunity,” Ray said.
In the meantime, Williams also expressed some frustration over the fact that the public has seemingly completely given up on masks even though they are very much helpful.
“It just does not seem like people are wearing masks and getting boosted – people are not taking any of this seriously. We seemed to declare that when it comes to Covid-19 mortality, we are number one, and that is a title that we are not going to relinquish to any country.”