Texas becomes FIFTH US state to detect ‘most contagious Covid variant ever’ BA.2.86
Texas has become the fifth state to detect highly mutated Covid variant BA.2.86.
The variant, which is feared to be better at infecting vaccinated people than previous strains, has also been detected in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and New York.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last week that because so few Pap smears are now being analyzed, the strain is likely much more widespread than official numbers indicate.
The BA.2.86 strain, also known as Pirola, has been identified by physicians through genome sequencing performed at Houston Methodist Hospital, Dr. Wesley Long announced today on X (formerly Twitter).
The CDC said last week that it believes “the large number of mutations in this variant raises concerns about greater escape from existing vaccine immunity and previous infections compared to other recent variants.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some 2,500 Americans are hospitalized every day.
Dr. Wesley Long said: ‘Our ongoing extensive #COVID-19 genome sequencing efforts have identified the first BA.2.86 reported in Texas, and the fourth in the US.
‘XBB and its sublines remain dominant. We continue to monitor all variants. Vaccination remains your best defense against Covid-19.”
It comes as the number of Covid hospitalizations in the US has risen 22 percent in one week, the fifth week in a row that they have increased. The CDC predicts an acceleration in the number of new hospitalizations in the coming month.
The CDC’s forecast has been superseded a previous projection that recordings would “remain stable or show an uncertain trend.”
The forecast, which was released last Mondaysuggested that about 2,000 Americans are hospitalized every day, the vast majority of whom are over the age of 65.
There were 12,613 admissions where the patient tested positive for Covid in the week to August 12.
But this was still barely a third of the levels recorded at the same time last year, when there were about 40,000 withdrawals each week.
The number of deaths remains static, with 479 reported in the last week of data available, July 22, compared to 484 in the previous seven-day period.
Doctors on the ground also say the illness is the mildest they’ve seen in Covid patients during the pandemic.
Still, concerns about the new variants have led to masks creeping back into everyday life.
A Kaiser Permanente hospital in Santa Rosa, California and Upstate Community Hospital in Syracuse, New York, which together serve millions of Americans, have reduced mandates for doctors, nurses, patients, and visitors.