The newest Omicron variant, BA.4/5, is gaining traction, causing case, hospitalization, and death curves to trend upwards in many countries. This variant was first detected in South Africa in early 2022 and caught our attention because it had several mutations on the spike protein. Two mutations in particular, called L452R and F486V, caught our attention because we had seen them on previous variants of concern. Recent lab and epidemiological data show BA.4/5 to be driving this wave, in part due to reinfections and infections after vaccination.
Here in Oregon, wastewater surveillance and spot testing are indicating sharp rises in both BA.4 and .5. indoor masking is now being again recommended (not mandated yet) in several counties where the per capita infection rate seems high.
26 months since infection with either the original west coast "A" or "B" strains from some California visitors, I still am dealing with some lingering symptoms and as always caution against contracting the long version..you really, really don't want to risk it.
@Katelyn: https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-1749502/v1, and Eric Topol's discussion of it... FYI
Outstanding analysis, as usual, Dr. Jetelina. You are really spoiling us :-)
We travelled from West Texas to the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park. NOBODY wore masks there, and masks were rare in Santa Fe, Colorado Springs, Las Cruces and El Paso. It’s a weird feeling be the only two people amongst 100’s who are “ so over it”.
Is it still the case that outdoor transmission is very very low? My wife is upset I was within 6ft of unmasked people outside for no more than 20 minutes earlier today and said I'm taking unnecessary risks.
Related: What is the risk of catching the new variant in a situation where I am unmasked with other unmasked people as described above?
Thank you, Dr Jetelina, for your remarkable work. I'm not as learned as some of your readers, yet I am a nurse who worked 37 yrs in ICU. My most burning question concerns the safety of the vaccine, esp for young women in their childbearing years. This has plagued me and now listening to family members who claim that there are reports that the mRna vax causes miscarriages, reproductive abnormalities, etc. What sources do you suggest to find some true answers? I have never posted anything, so hope I don't offend or cause any discord. Thank you.
It seems with each month that goes by, fewer and fewer people care? much less know about variants. The people I know who followed information about COVID have now moved from worried about getting infected and getting sick to either (1) Not worried about getting infected at all as they see it as mild or (2) Concerned about COVID but only because the issue of long COVID. This seems to be also what is the deciding factor for many parents I know about vaccinating their under 5 kids.
If there is an omicron based booster in the fall I wonder what the vaccination rates will be as people view COVID as less and less of an immediate issue.
I would love to know what research is going on to determine the driving factor for "illness". My Mom died from Covid February 2020. In March all three of us caught it - my husband suffered terribly and my son and I barely a sniffle for a day. My son and I caught it January of 2021 - he was positive - I was negative and he was sick with a cold and fever for 10 days. I had two days of extreme lethargy and shallow breathing. On Mother's Day I tested positive after a visiting friend came over for dinner. She has had 4 shots. all Pfizer. Her last one was April 15th. She was unknowingly sick. Calls me two days later to tell me she was positive. Both of us were sick for 13 days. My son tested positive and was fine in three days. It was the worst flu I have ever had. Not mild by any means. Now I have long covid issues - stabbing kidney pain. Random muscle pains and headaches. I have unvaxxed friends who have never caught it once, vaxxed and boosted friends who catch it bad and those with comorbidities who have minor symptoms. It appears to me that there is something else that drives this. I live in NYC and am super careful now. Even though I apparently have immunity for a few months. I do not want to get sick like that again - let alone every 3 or 4 months. I wish that on no one. I asked our Family Dr. what we can do. She said no one knows. She told me she prays for answers. Also - my Mom was 73 and in excellent health. She held on for 47 days. Doctors at Sinai told me they wouldn't even know how to test for Covid - that it was in China. I personally pray they are looking at everything right now, because the vaccine is not a shield against this new variant - at least not for me.
Seems like we need to up mitigations! Speaking of which, can you speak to the safety and efficacy of using Nitric Oxide Nasal Sprays (Enovid/Sanotize) for prevention?? I've also heard of Xlear, but only NONS seems to have actual research behind it (and is approved in Israel and other countries for prevention), does it work and, if so, why don't we have that here? And any updates on nasal vaccines? (seems that's possible our best hope left of stopping the virus in the nasal cavity and preventing the damage it does when it reaches other cells?)
"It’s reassuring that all-cause mortality in the U.S. reached pre-pandemic levels from March-May 2022" ... this is good news and I hope it holds statistically when all the data is in!
Very interesting. I tested positive 8 days ago and definitely had symptoms despite getting my second booster three weeks ago. So far, no one else in my household has tested positive, including someone I spent 2 hours in a car with one day before symptoms and two days before testing positive. Just waiting and seeing.
I wondered if you think Paxlovid will become available to get from a travel clinic or physician to have on hand if you are traveling to a remote region. If so, any idea when?
The rapid emergence of new variants is making me wonder if it might not be better to go for infection induced immunity. We are constantly exposed to cold and flu viruses, which also evolve continuously. But because of our exposure, we stay current with the newest versions and the illnesses caused are usually not severe. Could it be the same with Omicron?
Since there hasn't been a new post to this thread in a while, I hope Katelyn will tolerate an off-topic post anticipating the Supreme Court's anticipated abortion rights ruling. Here in Oregon, the Democrats who control both legislative chambers as well as the governorship are getting ready for a restrictive ruling and today issued a press release about our state's efforts to protect and expand choice:
Katelyn, please delete immediately if this isn't the appropriate time or place to go off topic.
Sorry to be off topic. Not sure if this is the place to write this comment but I am kind of freaking out. Mom of 3 here. Just took my 2.5 year old to get her fist COVID vaccine. And found out after the shot that we accidentally got phizer instead of the moderna shot we so wanted for her. I don’t know why I didn’t double check before he gave her the shot. So so upset and wondering what the best thing to do at this point is.
Can I switch her to Moderna at this point? And still get two moderna vaccines? I’m guessing the answer is no. Should I just stick to getting her the rest of the phizer series? I really wanted her to have better coverage that moderna offers. Her father and brother have a rare genetic blood disorder that may put them at increased risk for severe illness/hospitalization. I am just so upset about this. Any information you can share would be appreciated so much. Thanks in advance!