There is a new wave of Covid-19 on its way, and in certain places in the United States, it has already begun to manifest itself. Are you ready to take on the world?
BA.2, a subvariant of the highly infectious Omicron variant, has been identified as the cause this time. It is impossible to predict how much devastation BA.2 will wreak, but the virus has already caused a spike in cases in Europe and is currently the most common coronavirus in the United States and throughout the globe.
According to researchers, there has been an increase in the number of cases in the United States, and they have also seen an increase in the viral particles retrieved from roughly 150 wastewater surveillance sites. Bronwyn MacInnis, who directs pathogen genomic surveillance at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, explained that because people can shed the coronavirus even if they don’t show symptoms, pieces of the virus collected in wastewater can serve as an early warning several days before official case counts begin to rise, she explained. The BA.2 subvariant, discovered by Dr. MacInnis’s research group during the previous two weeks, has experienced a significant spike in levels in the Northeast.
When it comes to BA.2, “I don’t believe we’re looking at a crazy lockdown situation in this area of the globe,” Dr. MacInnis said. “However, we can’t rule out the possibility that this pathogen may throw us another curveball in the future.”
Health officials in the United States are optimistic that BA.2 will not cause another major outbreak, in part because so many people were infected by the original Omicron wave this winter and are therefore likely to have some natural or vaccine immunity that will protect them from severe illness and hospitalization.
However, there are a number of conditions that might cause the BA.2 wave to become a more catastrophic surge. Dr. Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, expressed alarm about the fact that fewer than 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 had received their first booster injection, leaving a huge population susceptible. Many people who received their booster shots in the fall may be experiencing a decline in immune protection. It is important to note that BA.2 may readily circumvent the immune systems of persons who have not been vaccinated and are relying on natural immunity gained from an earlier infection by a different variation.
Another worry is whether pandemic tiredness will prevent some individuals from adopting simple measures, like wearing masks and socially isolating themselves, when Covid numbers begin to climb in their region.
Doctor Robert Wachter, a professor and the head of the medical department at the University of California, San Francisco, stated, “We know how to control it.” “However, the major caveat will be that there will be many sectors of the nation that will not return to a cautious posture.” It’s wishful thinking to imagine that we’ll be able to maintain the current level of prosperity.”
Despite the fact that the virus is unexpected, there are straightforward techniques to protect yourself. Your actions now may lessen your risk of exposure, reduce the disturbance to your family and friends’ lives, and assist to ensure that you have access to care if either you or someone close to you gets gravely sick.
Here’s What You Can Do to Get Yourself Ready.
Watch Out for COVID Indicators in Your Neighborhood.
Don’t wait for public health experts to issue warnings before taking precautions. Continue to monitor Covid-19 data for your county or area. Checking the color-coded map provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which depicts community levels of Covid-19 around the nation, is a simple method to do this. Right now, the map is primarily a welcoming green, which indicates that there are extremely low rates of community transmission occurring. However, there is an increasing number of yellow spots, which indicate medium risk in Texas, the Northeast, and other locations, and orange-colored hot spots, which indicate high rates of community spread in Montana, the Dakotas, and other states, are appearing in the United States.
Whenever the map in your region begins to change color from green to yellow and finally orange, it is important to take additional measures, such as using masks in public places and reconsidering big interior events where you do not know the vaccination status of everyone in attendance.
The C.D.C.’s wastewater data tracker map may be bookmarked if you wish to get even more advanced notice of Covid trends.
Another relevant indication is the percentage of positive tests in your town. Taking further care is recommended when positive test rates begin to surge beyond 5 percent, according to experts. The Johns Hopkins coronavirus information center displays daily trends in coronavirus testing throughout the United States as well as state-by-state testing patterns.
Prepare High-Quality Face Masks Ahead of Time
Even if you are not currently using a mask, check your mask supply to ensure that you have a sufficient quantity of high-quality medical-style masks available. Pharmacies and community organizations are offering a limited quantity of free N95 respirator masks while supplies last. Enter your ZIP code into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask finder to discover a participating distributor near you. If you need to purchase extra masks, follow our instructions to locate a reputable supplier of N95, KN95, or KF94 masks and avoid purchasing counterfeits.
Since many towns have removed mask requirements, the decision on whether and how frequently to wear a mask will most likely be left to the individual.
“When you see the case numbers start to rise again, it’s time to put on the mask,” said Linsey Marr, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech and one of the world’s foremost authorities on viral transmission.
Dr. Marr acknowledged that many individuals are wary of wearing masks, but she pointed out that doing so is simply a little inconvenience and is a proven approach to reduce your risk. In her words, “I’m not for scare tactics, but there’s still so much we don’t know about long-term Covid that I don’t want to have Covid, and I don’t want anybody else to get Covid either.”
And the greater the number of individuals who put on masks when instances begin to increase, the sooner the next wave will be over and done with.