In the US, fresh warnings of a new surge of coronavirus cases
With surging coronavirus infections across the world, health experts in the US have warned of a potential new rise in the country
With surging coronavirus infections across the world, health experts in the US have warned of a potential new rise in the country, and called for better surveillance on the nature of it.
Even though cases and hospitalisations, deaths have been falling for weeks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) this week reported that the number of new coronavirus cases increased two weeks in a row globally, likely because COVID-19 prevention measures have been halted in numerous countries and because BA.2 spreads more easily.
BA.2 accounts for a growing share of US cases, the US CDC said more than one-third nationally and more than half in the Northeast. Small increases in overall case rates have been noted in New York, and in hospital admissions in New England.
White House health chief Anthony Fauci had earlier warned of the emergence of BA.2 in the US, which he said was about 50 per cent to 60 per cent more transmissible than Omicron, but it does not appear to be more severe.
Fauci is not the only one ringing the alarm bells. The COVID-19 pandemic has not gone away, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned on Sunday, saying that cases may rise and fall in the months to come. Murthy also expressed his concern over the lack of funding to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron coronavirus variant is not only faster at spreading, but may also cause more severe disease, a study from Februay had suggested. The yet-to-be peer-reviewed findings, recently posted on the preprint repository BioRxiv, show that the BA.2 sub variant may have features that make it as capable of causing serious illness as older coronavirus variants.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), on the contrary, said while BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1, the subvariant is not more severe. "Among all subvariants, BA.2 is more transmissible than BA.1. However, there is no difference in terms of severity," Maria Van Kerkhova, COVID-19 Technical Lead at WHO said in a video.