CDC keeps eye on new COVID strain
Published 5:16 pm Thursday, September 29, 2022
Just as a slight decline in COVID-19 cases has been seen in the past month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now keeping a watch on another strain of the virus that could peak into fall and winter.
According to data from the CDC, the prevalence of omicron subvariant BA.5 is declining slightly in the U.S, but other strains, like BA.4.6 and BF.7, have started increasing in the meantime.
BA.4.6 is the most prevalent strain behind BA.5. It was responsible for nearly 12% of infections last week, according to CDC data.
BF.7, an offshoot of BA.5, accounted for 2.3 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the week ending Sept. 24, according to the CDC’s latest variant proportion estimates.
This figure is up from 1.6 percent the week before the CDC started tracking the subvariant.
BA.5 is still the nation’s dominant strain, accounting for 83.1 percent of cases which BA.4.6 accounts for 11.9 percent.
WHAT MAKES BF.7 DIFFERENT
BF.7 has one additional genetic mutation in the spike protein compared to BA.5, and CDC officials say the new stain make weakens several vaccination brands
COVID-19 COMMUNITY LEVELS
On Friday, Sept. 23, the CDC changed its infection control manual for healthcare providers.
According to Piedmont Health District Director Dr. Maria Almond, if community transmission levels are not high, the CDC now says healthcare facilities may choose not to require universal masking for everyone in a healthcare facility.
All counties in the Piedmont district remain at high community transmission levels.
As of Sept. 22, there are 226 (7.0%) counties, districts, or territories with a high COVID-19 Community Level, 1,005 (31.2%) counties with a medium Community Level, and 1,986 (61.7%) counties with a low Community Level. Compared with last week, this represents a significant decrease (−6.3 percentage points) in the number of high-level counties, a moderate decrease (-4.7 percentage points) in the number of medium-level counties, and a significant increase (+11.0 percentage points) in the number of low-level counties. Forty-six out of 52 jurisdictions had high- or medium-level counties last week. Arizona, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Utah are the only jurisdictions to have all counties at low Community Levels.
CASE NUMBERS BY THE WEEK
As of Sept. 21, the current 7-day moving average of daily new cases (54,186) decreased 10.6% compared with the previous 7-day moving average (60,593). A total of 95,700,347 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the U.S. as of Sept. 21.