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New Omicron subvariants of the Covid-19 virus emerge nationwide, CDC says

According to estimates given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, the BA.5 variety, which dominated the summer surge of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, has declined to 83.1% of new cases.

According to federal estimates, three competitor strains – the BF.7, BA.2.75 and BA.4.6 variations – currently account for approximately 1 in 5 new infections in the United States.

The expansion of the novel variations coincides with a statewide decline in COVID-19 occurrences and hospitalizations.

Only 3% of Americans reside in “high” COVID-19 zones, where the CDC recommends indoor masks and other precautions to combat the virus, according to data published by the CDC on Thursday night.

However, health officials have warned for weeks that the United States is not yet “out of the woods.”

In keeping with the past two winter seasons, when devastating pandemic waves swept the country, scientists and health officials have been preparing for a widespread recurrence of the virus driven by a new variation.

Despite President Biden’s declaration that the epidemic has ended this month, authorities have recommended Americans to seek up updated boosters meant to protect against the BA.4 and BA.5 varieties.

To date, more than 4 million Americans have received updated vaccinations. The rate of newly administered vaccination doses has reached its highest level since April, according to CDC data, but it is still slower than at this time last year.

BA.2.75.2

BA.2.75.2 is a probable candidate for an autumn and winter outbreak that is now being monitored by virus researchers. Early laboratory results from Europe and China indicate that the variant possesses mutations that result in “the most dramatic antibody escape of any variant we’ve observed to date.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s departing chief medical adviser, stated last week at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies that due to the evolution of variations and seasonal factors, it is likely that a new variant will arise in the approaching late fall and winter.

More than 150 examples of this subvariant have been identified throughout 25 states in the United States.

“The BA.2.75.2 is already on the horizon, and it appears suspicious that it may begin to grow into another variant,” Fauci continued.

The CDC has not yet released a particular number for this strain. The variant’s umbrella lineage, BA.2.75, is estimated to have increased to 1.4% of cases nationwide.

Currently, BA.2.75 is most prevalent in New York and New Jersey, where the CDC estimates it accounts for 2.3% of new infections.

BF.7 and BA.4.6

The two other variations, BA.4.6 and BF.7, have caused concern because they may be resistant to the protection provided by Evusheld, a major antibody medication used to protect immunocompromised Americans who may not be able to acquire immunity through vaccination.

“Compared to parental BA.5 lineage viruses, BF.7’s gene encoding the Spike protein contains one more genetic variant. According to the data, this unique genetic mutation may diminish the efficiency of Evusheld “In a statement, CDC spokesperson Jasmine Reed informed CBS news.

Reed stated that there is currently “no indication that immunizations or diagnostic tests are harmed” by the mutations of BF.7.

According to the CDC, 2.3% of cases in the United States are currently caused by BF.7. This is an increase from the previous week’s estimate of 1.7%, when the agency first began measuring this variation. 11.9% are from BA.4.6, which the CDC has been monitoring for several weeks.

The frequency of BF.7 is highest in New England, where 3.9% of new infections are attributable to the variant, according to the CDC.

Recent government hospitalization and nursing home data indicate an increase in the virus in New England, while most other regions have seen a sharp reduction.

The Food and Drug Administration increased the dose of Evusheld in response to prior strains that jeopardized the protection provided by AstraZeneca’s medication.

It is unknown whether the FDA will take a similar action in reaction to the new strains this fall.

FDA spokesman Chanapa Tantibanchachai said in a statement, “The FDA is working with sponsors of all currently authorized treatments to examine the activity against any global SARS-CoV-2 variant(s) of interest and is committed to communicate with the public as we learn more.”

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