BA.5 responsible for more than half of new COVID cases in US

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – COVID-19 cases across the United States are on the rise again as the BA.5 sub-variant has become more and more infectious throughout 2022. According to the CDC, the omicron sub-variant is now responsible for more than half of all new COVID cases in the U.S.

As of Sunday, the CDC reported more than 129,000 new cases per day. That number marked the first time in almost two months that cases have increased in the United States and that 85% of Americans now live in medium to high-risk areas.

Hospitalizations across the country have also started to creep up in recent weeks, health experts have called the BA.5 variant “hypercontagious,” and that the variant is more resistant to existing vaccines.

The trend of rising hospitalizations and ICU admissions have not been seen in Rhode Island yet, as the Rhode Island Department of Health reports hospitalizations are down about 50% since June, with 110 people in Rhode Island hospitals on June 1, and five in the ICU. The number of patients hospitalized as of July 13 was down to 57.

According to the CDC, less than 50% of Americans have received a booster vaccine, and health officials predict a continuing rise in COVID cases of the BA.5 variant will continue in the coming weeks and months.

“If you got your booster last November or December, you don’t have as much protection against this virus as you’d like,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator. “[The vaccine] will protect you for the rest of this summer and into the fall. I think it’s really critically important.”

Cases of COVID-19 in Rhode Island have continued in a downward direction in recent weeks, and all five Rhode Island counties remain at low transmission levels.

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