Omicron BA.5 Surge: What You Need to Know
Another coronavirus outbreak is currently occurring in the United States, this time brought on by the Omicron subvariant BA.5. Scientists caution that the new subvariant is reinfecting people who have already had exposure with prior variations once or twice, sometimes as recently as a few weeks ago, and it appears to be the virus’s most contagious variant to yet.
The small portion of those that avoided Covid-19 for 2.5 years are now learning that BA.5 has methods of getting through their defenses. Even Vice President Biden, who had escaped infection, had a positive test on Thursday. Like many Americans, the president and his staff had relaxed the strict Covid security measures that had previously been in place at the White House.
Even while surveys reveal that few Americans are certain of what living with Covid should actually entail, everyone just wants things to return to normal. Most cities are unlikely to reinstate mask laws or other safety regulations that were in place during the initial pandemic stages, or even during the more recent Omicron surge.
How to Stay Safe During this Surge
This new surge of cases, as well as new and even more transmissible variant of Covid can be scary, so it is important to know what you can do to individually to lessen your exposure risk. Below are the public health measure we should prioritize at this time.
Get up to Date on your Vaccinations and Boosters
The present rise, according to doctors, is an excellent incentive to make an appointment today if you haven’t had your booster shot or any immunizations at all. Booster doses can increase the protection that vaccines offer against dangerous illnesses. However, fewer than half of Americans have received boosters, while less than a third of adults who are eligible for their second booster have received it. You are eligible for the second booster, or fourth shot, if you are over 50 years of age or if you are immunocompromised.
In the fall, new vaccines that are more geared toward Omicron subvariants should be available, and the Biden administration is thinking about broadening the eligibility for booster shots. However, if you belong to a high-risk category and are qualified for a second booster, you shouldn’t try to time your shots perfectly. Getting immunized now “won’t stop you from getting an authorized variant-specific vaccination in the fall or winter when they are advised for you,” the C.D.C. stated.
Keep Track of Sussex County Covid Numbers
While Covid numbers in Southern Delaware haven’t surged greatly yet, with this new variant it is both possible and probable to surge in the coming weeks. Due to a combination of acquired immunity from natural sources or vaccinations, as well as the availability of home tests and treatments, case counts are no longer a complete way to track the virus. It provides a great baseline, that when combined with social networks and the local news, provides a very accurate estimate of Covid spread in your community.
Find out if anyone in your family, friends, and community has lately had Covid or knows of someone who has. You might have a better understanding of the prevalence in your neighborhood and your own potential risk of contracting an illness because you’re more likely to engage with people in your network. If your close contacts are becoming infected with Covid more regularly, as is the case for many people around the nation right now, it’s a strong indication that you and your peers should start donning masks and utilizing more Covid precautions.
Mask Up Indoors and Outside
To protect yourself in public settings, wear high-quality masks whether you have Covid-19 infection or not. If you are hosting a maskless event, being outdoors is the considerably safer option. The air outside will be far safer to breathe without a mask than inside air. However, even outside, the danger of contracting the virus from someone else increases the closer people are together.
For instance, you might want to invite fewer friends to a pool party to lower the risk of viral transmission. Additionally, make sure everyone has received their vaccinations and has recently tested negative. If you are going to events where you have less control, such as an outdoor concert, you should mask up and keep an eye out for any new symptoms for a few days after larger gatherings.
Use your Rapid Tests
If you use rapid tests frequently, you can use them to stop the spread of Covid-19. To best protect yourself and the people around you, make sure you are testing both before social gatherings, as well as three to five days following the social event. Therefore, if you don’t have access to a public testing facility or tests through your employer, have a supply of fast tests at home.
Just keep in mind that you can test negative even if you experience Covid-19 symptoms. If you believe you may be ill, still quarantine. To be sure that you do not have Covid after receiving a negative result, retest a day or two later. Additionally, you should test for Covid-19 after your symptoms have subsided. Even if your symptoms have subsided, a positive antigen test is a very accurate indicator that you are still contagious.