According to the CDC, COVID cases are on the rise in many parts of the country and hospital admissions have doubled since May. This latest COVID surge is being driven by two new Omicron subvariants. The CDC estimates that the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants together represent more than 80% of US cases. And vaccination or prior infection does not guarantee protection against subtypes.
Joining us now to discuss all this and what role vaccines play in this latest boom is Dr. Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Peter Hotez. It is great to have you with us.
And in the time since we have a COVID vaccine, I think the only silver lining to catching COVID was that you will never catch it again. But it seems that is no longer the case, especially with this latest Omicron subvariant. What does this account for?
Dr. Peter Hotez, Baylor College of Medicine: Well, what’s up, Geoff, if you’ve had Omicron infections in the past and a lot of Americans because during that big spike in January, there were about a million new cases Were. Day by some estimates, which BA.5 is not providing protection against re-infection. So another name for Omicron is BA.1. BA.1 does not necessarily provide protection against BA.5 unless you have been vaccinated against it, or unless you have been vaccinated and boosted, preferably twice boosted. So what you really need is to maximize your vaccinations to combat this new BA.5 variant. And it looks like it’s keeping people away from the hospital, even if it’s still not stopping you from getting the infection and keeping you at home for a few days.