Is BA.5 Past Its Peak? COVID Deaths Drop 20% From Previous Week

Is BA.5 Past Its Peak? COVID Deaths Drop 20% From Previous Week

Immunologists and scientists have been concerned about the latest COVID subvariant, BA.5. Data has shown that it is more contagious than previous strains and that it can not only get by antibodies created by vaccines, it can bypass even those gained by catching the actual virus.

In the early weeks of summer, cases of the virus have been rising, although hospitalizations have remained low. But spiking cases still prompted discussion of new mask mandates, and some big counties like Los Angeles are on pace to begin requiring people to wear masks in large public gatherings from next week on.

Now, though, a new report has come out saying perhaps the spread of BA-5 has already peaked.

The U.S. is now averaging 426 COVID deaths per day, a 20% drop from the previous week, the Daily Mail reported. That is significant because deaths between July 6-13 had doubled over the previous week.

The number of case figures are beginning to fall off as well, dropping 8% over last week to 128,785 per day.

As the SARS-CoV-2 continues to morph into new variants of COVID, so too are the symptoms changing. A British study has found that the most common symptoms of the Omicron variant differ from other variants that emerged throughout the pandemic.

A sore throat and a hoarse voice, which were not as prevalent in Delta cases, are the most reported symptoms of the newer variant, a Zoe Health Study found. Both vaccinated, and unvaccinated people have experienced these symptoms.

The study also concurred with other researchers that found the Omicron variant leads to fewer hospitalizations than the Delta variant.

“The findings show that the duration of COVID-19 symptoms was significantly shorter (6.87 days versus 8.89 days), and participants were less likely to be hospitalized with the Omicron variant compared with the Delta variant,” Zoe Health said in a press release about the study.

The study also found that Omicron “appears to be much more transmissible than previous variants,” but it “causes fewer severe symptoms in multiple organs that are more affected by Delta.”

White House COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha declared the new BA.5 subvariant of Omicron to be “the most immune evasive” and urged older Americans and those with compromised immune systems to take a booster shot.

The vaccines and boosters that Americans took were targeted at the original strain, and while it offers protection from severe illness with other variants, Jha said that is increasingly limited.

“We’re still seeing some protection against infection but not as much,” Jha told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz on July 17. “This is that immune-evasive nature of this virus. So if you got your booster let’s say last November or December, you don’t have as much protection against this virus as you’d like.”

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.

 

 

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