When people were expecting that coronavirus would calm down in the peak of summer, the recent trends signal something starkly different from the widespread expectations. The infection has instead gone up. Earlier, Omicron BA.2 variant was causing the chaos, and now a CDC report suggests that BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants have led to almost 70% of new cases in the US. Although immunization is vital protection against the severity of the disease caused by these viruses, the experts opine that these can still infect people. Some believe that the resumption of pre-pandemic activities and travels is one reason behind the surge.
Given the current scenario, there can be many questions one may ask, such as how risky COVID-19 infection is this time, if immunized and boosted people are safe, etc. Then, there is curiosity about protecting oneself from this virus and what to do if one gets the infection.
According to George Washington University’s Dr. Leana Wen, coronavirus cases had been high since the outbreak occurred. The infection rate had slowed down only for a while. After the onset of BA.2, there has only been an increase. The health expert also reminds us that the reported number of cases and the reality can be much different (about 5 to 10 times higher) because people are using home testing kits, and most of these cases don’t get recorded at the public health agencies. Anyway, let’s find out what one can do during this fresh wave of the COVID-19 variant.
Follow CDC guidelines and be cautious.
Also, an emergency physician, Dr. Wen, recommends people should stick to CDC instructions and take their boosters to protect themselves from the infection. The doses are available for anyone age five or more. Seniors 50 and more have also become eligible for second booster shots. Someone with compromised immunity may have to take five jabs. Also, they can check whether Evusheld will be helpful in their case to prevent the severity of the infection. According to Leana, people need to wear masks in crowded indoor spaces. Though masking rules don’t apply, this doesn’t imply they should avoid it.
Continue doing daily activities but with precautions
The healthcare leader informs that people don’t have to change their daily routine or cancel trips. However, one must be aware of the risk of infection if one doesn’t take proper measures. The expert also feels that the need of the hour is to ask oneself how safe one wants to be from the virus. The positive news is most vaccinated and boosted people are safe from severe illness. More precisely, although BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants can escape immunity, this group doesn’t have to worry about falling severely ill even if they contract the virus. Still, the new variants are highly contagious. One has to be more considerate about the additional precautionary measures.
Some people can be warier of the outcomes because of their underlying medical health or because they live with someone at high risk. Generally, healthy people better protected from complications may not be interested in Covid-19 precautions. However, the high-risk group may want to prioritize their health and not risk the infection.
MyBioSource’s survey of around 3500 people reveals that 60% of Americans opine, that public areas and workplaces should relax their COVID rules and restrictions. In response to such sentiments, the health leaders say their feelings are understandable. No one will stay away from weddings, birthday parties, or other indoor events forever. Still, it is best to know the risk and prepare accordingly. For example, if you go to the nursing home to meet your grandma, make sure you take a test at home the same day. If you attend a crowded social gathering inside, check your health after a couple of days. It is recommendable that one should not delay testing if they develop any symptoms.
A few more insights
It is critical to note that an earlier COVID infection doesn’t save a person from getting reinfected with the new variants. The relief is that immunization offers excellent protection against severity. Hence, it is better to complete one’s vaccination and booster jabs. Also, isolating oneself is critical after getting the infection to protect others around you. According to the CDC, one should remain in isolation for five days and cover their mouth and nose with a mask for the next five days if the symptoms improve. Testing is also a good practice unless you get a negative result because some people heal faster while others take more time. Using home test kits from day four onward can be a good idea until the results are favorable.
Nevertheless, there is a need to account for the burden on the healthcare staff and the institutions. Recently, almost 40 American states reported a staffing shortage across hospitals, and others expected the same situation to develop. Eight hospitals in California, one in Louisiana, and then many more in states like Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, and New Mexico also inform of the likelihood of facing this challenge. If the healthcare systems collapse, every life will be more vulnerable. Hence, for this reason, also, it pays to be cautious.