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Quick Covid-19 Update for May 2022

Updated: May 18

Earlier in the year the United States battled the Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 strains of Covid-19. The CDC estimates that in December, 33.5% of Americans possessed antibodies to Covid-19, by February that number increased to 57.7%. With BA.1 and BA.2 seeming to die out scientists are now warning about the rise of new variants of Covid-19, the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5. Below are the quick facts about these new variants and the current state of Covid-19 in Houston.


Omicron BA.4 and BA.5

  • Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 originated in South Africa and have made their way to the United States.

  • Currently, the number of BA.4 and BA.5 infections in the US are incredibly small (less than 0.1% of all infections), but their numbers are expected to rise quickly in the coming months.

The Bad News

  • Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants are predicted to be more contagious than earlier strains of Covid-19. This probably means quicker spread and a rise in infections.

  • The BA.4 and BA.5 variants are proving to be resistant to antibodies from previous infections. This means that you will not be 100% protected from Ba.4 and BA.5 just because you have had Covid-19 in the past.

The Good News

  • Good News: BA.4 and BA.5 infections are exhibiting mild symptoms and decreased risk of hospitalization similar to the original Omicron variants.

Houston

  • Harris County’s Covid-19 positivity rate is currently 4.8%, this is up from last month’s low of 2.7% but way below January’s high of 37%

  • Harris County is currently in Threat Level Yellow, which according to Harris County officials, signifies “a moderate, but controlled level of Covid-19 in Harris County”

What to do Right Now

  • The CDC advises everyone ages 5 years and older to get vaccinated and everyone ages 12 and older to get boosted as well.

  • Immunocompromised and the elderly are encouraged to talk to their doctor about possibly receiving a second booster.

  • If you want to learn more about the Covid-19 pandemic and how to keep you and your family safe visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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