Womenz Magazine

Rise in COVID Cases Due to New Variant EG.5

COVID Cases
Reuters/Mike Blake

There has been a noticeable surge in COVID-19 cases recently. Dr. Sergio Segarra, Chief Medical Officer for Baptist Health Baptist Hospital, noted, “Over the past few weeks, both across Florida and at Baptist Health, we’ve observed a considerable uptick, pointing to the variant’s high contagiousness.”

Hospitalizations have also seen an upward trend due to this. A new sub-variant, EG.5, dubbed Eris, is quickly spreading across the nation.

Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious disease expert at Florida International University, remarked, “This variant doesn’t seem drastically different from other omicron strains. Unlike Delta, it doesn’t seem to particularly affect children. The most vulnerable remain those who are elderly or have underlying conditions.”

However, Dr. Segarra emphasized, “It’s still an offshoot of the omicron. Fortunately, it’s not as aggressive as Delta, which impacted all age groups severely.”

Memorial Healthcare System reported a modest increase in cases since May, while Jackson Health’s COVID hospitalization rate remains stable. Dr. Segarra stated that more patients are now being admitted to the ICU than in the preceding months, although the numbers are still relatively lower than previous peaks.

Looking forward, Dr. Marty mentioned a forthcoming booster shot, expected to be introduced this autumn. She explained, “This booster, primarily focused on omicron, will likely enhance protection. The rising cases are likely due to diminished immunity over time, and not because EG.5 is inherently more dangerous.”

Concurrently, the demand for at-home COVID testing kits has soared. Both CVS and Walgreens have observed a spike in purchases, with some stores facing temporary shortages.

Dr. Segarra advises, “With the school season starting, the risk of transmission increases. It’s essential to review your vaccination status and act accordingly. The vaccine remains effective in preventing severe disease.”

Official statements:

CVS: “A minor increase in at-home COVID-19 test kit purchases has been observed. We’re ensuring our stock meets the needs of our customers both online and in-store.”

Walgreens: “We’ve noticed a heightened demand nationwide, potentially leading to short-term shortages. Our online inventory is regularly updated, and we aim to replenish our stores promptly.”

Pfizer: “We’re closely tracking emerging variants and testing our updated vaccine against them. We’re prepared to develop variant-specific vaccines if required and expect to distribute this season’s COVID-19 vaccine by the end of August, pending regulatory approval.”

Memorial Healthcare: “There’s a slight rise in cases from May’s low, but ICU numbers remain stable. Respiratory virus cases are on the rise.”

FDA: “The updated COVID-19 vaccines should be available by late September, subject to regulatory approvals. Based on current data, these vaccines are believed to offer optimal protection against prevailing variants.”

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