Title: Medical Experts Warn of Surge in Covid-19 Cases as New Variants Circulate
Subtitle: EG.5 and BA.2.86, Highly Transmissible Variants, Pose Potential Threat in Coming Months
Medical experts are cautioning the public about a potential surge in Covid-19 cases this fall, primarily due to the circulation of new variants. While these newly identified strains – such as EG.5 and BA.2.86 – are not deemed more lethal than their predecessors, they are thought to be considerably more transmissible.
Derived from the highly contagious Omicron variant, EG.5 has emerged as a significant concern. Reports indicate that it is now responsible for approximately 20 percent of Covid-19 infections in the United States. Although BA.2.86 has also been detected within the country and elsewhere, its overall prevalence remains relatively low at present.
Experts emphasize the importance of recognizing the symptoms associated with these current Covid strains, which resemble those of earlier variants. These symptoms include sore throat, muscle aches, chills, and a dry cough. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights that individuals may also experience fever or chills, congestion, runny nose, cough, muscle aches, sore throat, headaches, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and new loss of taste and smell.
To mitigate the risk of infection, it remains crucial to follow preventive measures such as staying home and avoiding contact with others when feeling unwell. Vaccination and booster shots against Covid-19 are also highly recommended. Notably, new boosters specifically targeting the XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant are anticipated to be available by mid to late September.
Testing is strongly advised for individuals exhibiting symptoms, with a range of options available, including at-home tests and local testing sites. If an individual tests positive or experiences symptoms without taking a test, it is recommended to isolate for a period of five days.
Looking ahead, experts stress that Covid-19 is likely to further evolve, resulting in the emergence of new variants throughout the fall and winter seasons, and beyond. It is also possible that future variants may introduce novel symptoms, reinforcing the importance of remaining vigilant and informed.
As the threat of Covid-19 continues to evolve, staying informed, following preventative measures, and seeking timely testing and treatment remain critical in safeguarding public health.