New Variants Can Be Circulating Around

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Quoting the gene sequence sharing site GISAID, CNN Health writes that cases arising from the two new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 would remain high in the US. During the month of May, 6-7% Covid cases were caused by these two variants, according to the genomics company Helix and the most recent updates from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It’s a serious threat. Only a month ago, it was .02 percent.

– Dr. David Ho, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University in New York City (source: CNN)

Referring to a research by Dr. Ho and his colleagues, CNN writes that they “tested antibodies from the blood of vaccinated and boosted people, as well as the antibodies of people who’d recovered from breakthrough Covid-19 infections, against engineered BA.4 and BA.5 viruses in the lab. In each case, they found a drop in potency against BA.4 and BA.5.”

Reacting to these finding Dr. Shishi Luo, associate director of bioinformatics and infectious disease at Helix, told CNN “So I think if we extrapolate from South Africa, what we’ll see in the US is that BA.4 and BA.5 will increase, because it has some competitive advantages compared to existing strains, but fingers crossed, it is not going to lead to more severe outcomes.”

Dr. Alex Greninger, assistant director of the University of Washington’s clinical virology laboratory, told CNN “It’s like boxing. It’s like the national champion from South Africa going against the national champion in the United States. You don’t know how to rank them if they haven’t ever fought.”

For the summer, going into the winter, I expect these viruses to be out there at relatively high levels. Just the number of cases, the sheer disruptions of the work force — It’s just a very high, high burden of disease.

– Dr. Alex Greninger, assistant director of the University of Washington’s clinical virology laboratory (source: CNN)

You Are Going to Get COVID Again … And Again … And Again

– Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic

Based on her conversation with health experts, The Atlantic staff writer Katherine Wu writes “SARS-CoV-2 may yet become another common-cold coronavirus, no more likely to screw with its hosts the fifth time it infects them than the first. But that’s no guarantee. The outlooks of the experts I spoke with spanned the range from optimism to pessimism, though all agreed that uncertainty loomed. Until we know more, none were keen to gamble with the virus—or with their own health.”

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of June 2) 749,151,955 doses have been distributed and 588,223,208 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data a total of 10,055,462 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of June 2) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 1,513,760 with 12,649 deaths.