This week, Covid-19 cases are rising again by more than 50% compared with the last week in at least 9 states in the USA. This surge is said to be driven by the new BA.2.12.1 variant. CNN has invited Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician, and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, to discuss what people want to know about this new surge of pandemics.
The new Omicron subvariants
According to Dr. Leana Wen, even though the Omicron variant is more transmissible than the Delta variant, and vaccines are shown less effective against it, it can still be combated with the current shots and boosters. This is the same for the new Omicron subvariants as well, and there is no evidence that they cause more severe symptoms.
As Covid-19 is a respiratory disease that is airborne, the virus that causes it can be transmitted through breathing or speaking, and there is the theoretical possibility of surface transmission. Making is still an effective way to reduce the possibility of catching this disease, but the type of mask matters. The new variants are very contagious, so the cloth mask won’t be sufficient enough, and a high-quality respirator mask, like N96, KN95 or KF94, is strongly recommended. Those who cannot tolerate those masks should at least wear a 3-ply surgical mask. A cloth mask could be worn on top of the mask to ensure a better fit.
Another two points Dr. Wen made are: Ventilation is key. Don’t forget handwashing.
Precautions for gatherings like graduation parties, Mother’s Day, and other events
First and foremost, vaccines and boosters are excellent protections, and they reduce the chance of infection as well. Taking a rapid home test before gatherings can also reduce the risk. Making is another key point, but since for meetings, people might not want to wear masks for dinner, masking is not necessarily realistic. It is always a choice, though, for you to wear your mask and keep your social distance.