US Sees Uptick in COVID Hospitalizations as New Variants Emerge

US Sees Uptick in COVID Hospitalizations as New Variants Emerge

United States: The COVID variant has been surging across the United States, and the activities linked to the same are also witnessing an uptick in a few weeks. The similar trend is witnessed in the New York City where on a recent Saturday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul disseminated the latest COVID-19 statistics and guidelines. She noted an uptick in hospitalizations compared to the same period last year, though the numbers remain below those of 2022.

According to the details shared by the health authorities, the average rate of new COVID hospitalizations is 0.71 per 100,000 New Yorkers between June 26 to July 3, 2024. In comparison, during the same time in 2023 and 2022 the average rate was at 0.31 per 100,000 and 1.66 per 100,000 New Yorkers, according to news10.com.  

“Although we are significantly beneath the pandemic peaks, we are vigilantly observing the latest variant developments,” Hochul stated.

Hospital crowding is mirroring a national trend as new variants propagate during summer, a time when people seek indoor refuge from the heat. The prevailing official guidance remains consistent:

– Get vaccinated

– Maintain social distancing, practice hand hygiene, and wear masks in public

– Get tested if you exhibit symptoms such as sore throat, cough, fatigue, congestion, runny nose, headache, muscle aches, fever, chills, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or breathing difficulties

– Adhere to CDC isolation guidelines if you test positive, now reduced to 24 hours post-fever

– Pursue necessary treatments

“This is an opportune moment to remind individuals to enhance indoor ventilation whenever feasible,” noted New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. “Updated vaccines are available at pharmacies for those interested.”

State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Health Committee, emphasized, “We can mitigate the current spread by wearing masks in congested and indoor settings, accessing COVID tests and vaccines, and making prudent choices if symptomatic to safeguard vulnerable families and neighbors. Ongoing vigilance is crucial as mask bans are being proposed in our state and nationwide. Wearing a mask is a validated preventive measure against COVID-19.”

The dominant variants today, including KP.2 and KP.1.1, dubbed “FLiRT,” and the similar JN.1, are derivatives of the omicron variant identified in late 2021. “Our data indicate that a new vaccine targeting JN.1 or KP.2 will provide protection against JN.1, KP.2, KP.3, and other JN.1 sub-variants currently circulating,” a Moderna spokesperson mentioned in June, as per news10.com.

In June, Governor Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams proposed banning masks at protests and on subways. Critics argue this would imperil New Yorkers. A special session of the State Legislature would be required to address this proposal. There are several legislative proposals under consideration:

– S9867/A10057A: “Relates to concealment of identity in a lawful or unlawful assembly or riot.”

– S9194/A10043: “Establishes the crimes of deceptive wearing of a mask and aggravated deceptive wearing of a mask.”

With the prevalence of at-home testing, officials are unable to track casual infections as comprehensively as during the pandemic’s height, complicating precise data collection by the CDC, as reported by news10.com.

New York’s Wadsworth Lab primarily relies on wastewater testing to detect COVID infections and identify variants. Hochul indicated that federal and local wastewater surveillance data show an increase in new variants both statewide and nationally.

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