We are all extremely fed up with any discussion of the tragically deadly Covid-19 pandemic, especially those of us who suffered the irreparable loss of loved ones. We do not want to wear any masking anymore, except in crowded indoor spaces. We want to greet, touch, and hug family and friends. We want to be human again.
However, we should be careful not to toss our masks into the dustbin and engage in dangerous activities like having dinner in a crowded restaurant or board a plane to enjoy a leisurely dinner in the company of a few dozen people. Hold on just yet.
In an excellent article in The New York Times, Sharon Otterman said that the Omicron variant that accounted for most infections through the summer, BA.5, is now giving way to a variant soup—a mixture of different Omicron subvariants including BQ. 1 and BQ. 1.1, which are even more transmissible and better at dodging immunity.
The Center for Diseases Control, CDC, uses genomic surveillance to track the SARS-CoV-2 variants for sequencing; the Nowcast is a weekly updated model used to calculate the circulating variants in the USA. To provide more representative national, regional and jurisdiction—level estimates of recent proportions, calculations are made to track the spread of variants through the states and within the confines of the same state. The estimates are based on measuring the following
- Total number of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, rc-pcr tests.
- Total number of SARS-CoV—2 positive RT-PCT test results.
One of the present challenges of the American Public Health authorities is that the testing is now done mostly at home and not in public facilities, which is masking the real extent of the viral diffusion. However, there are indirect signs that these variants might be spreading already as the New York City officials have noticed an increase in the nationwide surge of hospital admissions due to respiratory Syncitial virus, coinciding with the seasonal surge of flu. The three viruses act as a minuet—named in honor of the 18th century ballroom dance where two persons dance in triple time.
There are clinical indications that the approved vaccines are still working against these variants, especially to avoid the hospitalizations and their grave consequences. As the immunity wanes over time, there will be strong need for at least two doses of the vaccines plus one or two booster doses. Vaccines still work, but for how long?
The real challenge is to encourage more American citizens to get the booster shots to protect them form the more nefarious effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
What do you think. Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.