Omicron BA.4, BA.5 subvariants could fuel next Covid surge, senior health official warns

Omicron BA.4, BA.5 subvariants could fuel a new surge of Covid infection, a top health official said on July 8.

It also set out some rules to further protect against the virus, including staying up to date on vaccinations, masking up when community transmission is high or when someone is at high risk, and staying home when sick.

In a tweet, global health leader and epidemiologist Dr Tom Frieden wrote: “Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are taking hold and could propel us into a new wave of infections . We can protect ourselves and others by keeping up to date with vaccinations, masking up when community transmission is high or if you are at high risk, and staying home when you are sick. »

He further suggested that although the mask is not compulsory, it remains an important tool to help reduce the spread of Covid.

He also said that according to a recent analysis, wearing masks corresponds to a significant drop in the reproduction number of SARS-CoV-2.

Apart from that, he also insisted on using the N95 mask to protect himself from Covid.

“If you’re medically vulnerable or just want better protection, upgrade your mask to an N95,” he said.

“If you are worried about catching Covid (medically vulnerable or otherwise) and you are indoors with other people who are not masked, consider switching to an N95. Cloth and surgical mask protect if all are wearing, but if others are not masked, a properly fitted N95 is much more effective,” he said.

The two sublines, which were added to the World Health Organization’s watch list in March and designated as variants of concern by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The WHO Covid update indicates that among the Omicron lines, the proportions of BA.5 and BA.4 continue to increase. BA.5 has been detected in 83 countries. Although BA.4, which has been detected in 73 countries, is also increasing globally, the rate of increase is not as high as that of BA.5.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants drive infections, accounting for at least 70% of the total nationwide.

Read also : New covid subvariant detected in India monitored by WHO: 10 points

Although they are more transmissible and better able to evade immune defenses than previous versions, people who have been vaccinated or previously infected generally suffer from low rates of severe disease, according to Dan Barouch, a virologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. in Boston.

Read also : Omicron BA.2.75 is alarming! Experts point to 3 key reasons why tracking the new COVID variant is essential

Meanwhile, a new BA.2.75 subline of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has been detected in India and some other countries, is being closely monitored by the World Health Organization, Director General Tedros said. Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“In Europe and America, BA.4 and BA.5 are making waves. In countries like India, a new sub-lineage of BA.2.75 has also been detected, which we are monitoring,” he said.

The WHO’s weekly epidemiological update on covid-19, published on July 6, indicates that globally, the number of new weekly cases increased for the fourth consecutive week after a downward trend since the last peak of March 2022.

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