We are now at the end of the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic and once again in a winter surge. According to data from the CDC, hospitalizations have surpassed what was seen this past summer and for people 60 or older – the group most vulnerable to more severe infection, that number has drastically increased since mid-November.
In part, this latest surge can be attributed to XBB.1.5, the latest Omicron subvariant, which has evolved to be better at evading immunity from both vaccination and previous infection. There are other factors that play into the surge though, including time of year (viruses survive better in colder, drier weather) and human behavior such as holiday gatherings, increased travel, and people spending more time indoors.
Although XBB.1.5 does not appear to cause more severe illness, for those who are immunocompromised or are otherwise more susceptible to COIVD, treatments are becoming more limited. Continual evolution of the virus has rendered treatments such as Evusheld less effective and the article highlights the limitations of other some other treatments that are available. Health officials continue to encourage vaccination and boosters to help protect yourself, along with masking up if you are in an area of high transmission or are at higher risk for severe infection.
Read the full story on the Stat News website: https://www.statnews.com/2023/01/03/covid-winter-surge-to-exceed-summer-peak/