Puerto Rico today, Tuesday, entered the 105th day of COVID-19, caused by the sublineage of the Omicron variant, a wave that has already broken a record in terms of reported cases and that seems to be giving up. is not ready.
till tomorrow afternoon, The number of infections in the rebound which started on March 15 was 310,506.According to the daily monitoring of biostatistician and Harvard University professor Rafael Irizarri, The expert pointed out that this figure has already surpassed the record 281,726 which was set by the rebound of the original Omicron version (ba.1) between December 2021 and January 2022.
The number of infections during this increase due to the BA.2 sub-lineage represents about 41% of the 764,017 cases reported by the Department of Health since the start of the pandemic as of June 25. According to monitoring by Irizarry, this figure could rise to 810,725 by the same date.
whereas, In the new rebound, at least 368 people have died, mainly adults aged 70 years or older. During the previous wave, which began in mid-December and saw its lowest point around March 1, 860 deaths were reported.
The possibility of reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 has now been added to the challenges already known during a public health emergency. As of yesterday afternoon, 29,735 were reported to have been infected with the corona virus, according to biostatistical data. The vast majority -27,799- occurred between last December and June of this year. Irizarry defines “re-infection” as a person who tests positive at least three months after the previous positive test.
“Omicron variant is much more conducive to avoidance than immunity acquired with previous variants, like vaccine immunity”repeated the scientist new day.
Irisari highlighted that the daily peak of cases in this rebound is lower than in the previous one, but has lasted longer. The case fatality rate has also been low, but there are concerns that the wave shows no sign of slowing.
BA.4 and BA.5 Gain Ground
According to data from the Walgreens pharmacy chain, Panorama is becoming complex with BA.4 and BA.5, which evade natural immunity to infections caused by previous versions of Omicron. This situation, the scientist said, may explain why, more than three months after the rebound, a decreasing trend in infections is still not observed.
“The reality is that tells us and suggests to us that the mutations in this virus make it different every time we get a strain.”pointed to the doctor Angels RodriguezFormer state epidemiologist. “From a public health perspective, we design strategies based on the behavior of the virus, how it is transmitted, how contagious it is, how severe it is, and each time we take an X strategy, the virus changes and changes. The little doll affects how well we can protect the population.”
On June 10, Health Secretary Dr. Carlos Melado, confirmed that they detected the presence of the BA.4 subclass of the Omicron variant in Puerto Rico, after sequencing three tests of infections reported in the Caguas region. He then specified that the cases were of one woman and two men in the age group of 20 to 29 and 60 to 79 years.
The most recent report of Epidemiological Indicators of Epidemiology, prepared by Health, which covers 29 May to 4 June (Epidemiological Week 24), says that, On the island, four cases of BA.4 and one of BA.5 have already been confirmed by genomic sequence. Within the minimum number of sequences reported, both sublines represent 71.4% of cases, a suggestion that BA.2 may be displaced.
Analyzing the current panorama, Rodriguez noted that the Omicron sublineage “made vaccination practically useless” in terms of survival from infection. However, he stressed that available vaccines are still necessary to prevent the severity of illness and deaths, for which he emphasized the need for booster doses.
“The behavior of the virus allows not only infection of vaccinated people, but also re-infection of those already infected with Omicron, to be reinfected with subtypes of Omicron”Epidemiologist picked up.
Even with the safety of vaccines in terms of severity and death, the volume of cases kept Rodriguez cautious, who recalled that, even when omicron variations are less aggressive than previous forms. There are days when the number of reported deaths doubles. score. For example, on May 21 there were 11 deaths, while on the 26th of that month there were 10 deaths according to health. In recent days, such as on June 20, 21 and 23, there were eight deaths each day. Death spikes during the last wave, when Omicron appeared, occurred on January 15 and 21, 2022, with 32 deaths each.
“Probably, this is going to be one of the leading causes of death when the year is analyzed, and these forms tend to be less aggressive, less lethal”The doctor said.
According to health, till June 26, the daily average of deaths from COVID-19 was four. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, Since February 1, 2020, there have been more than 6,481 deaths in Puerto Rico directly and indirectly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The estimated surplus for the week ended 15 January 2022 was up to 39.9%.
“We must continue to try to avoid exposure to the virus because we don’t know who is going to fall”Rodriguez said, and recalled that people should not forget the long-term existence of COVID-19 and the potential for the consequences of the disease.
“The most important tool we have is education and educational campaigns,” the epidemiologist said while reviewing recommendations to citizens, such as the use of high-protection masks such as the KN-95, booster vaccinations to prevent severity and death, physical distancing And to prevent infection, crowds and large events should be avoided.
Regarding vaccination, the health department’s portal shows that Only 31.50% (968,969) of the eligible population, from the age of 5 years, including the first and second boosters, to the date of their vaccination on the basis of individual merit.
The total number of individuals without up-to-date vaccination is 1,955,414, and another 269,311 people have not been vaccinated against the disease.
Health did not respond to a request for an interview with the doctor yesterday Melissa MarzanaChief Epidemiological Officer, to answer questions about the prolonged uptake.
New reinforcements focused on Omicron
As the Omicron sublineage gains ground, US health officials are considering offering new booster vaccines against COVID-19 this fall, modified to better match the coronavirus vaccine.
According to a report in The Associated Press, Moderna and Pfizer are testing updated injections against Omicron, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisors will debate today whether it’s time to make the changes that other countries are adopting. sets the stage for similar measures.
Scientific data shows that current COVID-19 vaccines saved millions of lives worldwide in their first year of use, and Moderna and Pfizer’s shots of their boosters still offer strong protection against serious illness and death. Huh.
On the island, as of early August 2021, vaccines against COVID-19 had saved more than 300 lives and prevented the hospitalization of more than 1,000 patients, showed a biostatistical analysis from the BioPortal de Salud and Puerto were combined data. Ricoh electronic vaccination system.
But those vaccines are primarily directed against the original strain of the coronavirus, and have weakened immunity and, among the variants, markedly reduced protection against infection. The challenge is deciding whether modified reinforcements offer a good chance of mitigating another wave, when there is no way to predict whether another variant will be the primary threat.
“The trial and efficacy approval processes take time and there is no way to skip them because you have to prove that they work, but in return, it allows, until they are approved, certified and go to market. “The virus has already changed, so we expect this new vaccine candidate to be effective, but we don’t know what we’re going to do in October.”Rodriguez said.
“This is something that defies all tools that have been developed over the years to respond to public health emergencies, but we have to keep trying”Held.
The COVID-19 positivity rate for Puerto Rico stood at 32.78% on Tuesday morning, according to the Department of Health’s daily report. Health, on the other hand, indicated that 399 people were hospitalised, which is 14 more patients than on Monday.
Yesterday, the incidence was put at 587.53, which was significantly higher than the less than 10 cases required to classify the rate as low.