This is not to scare, but to inform. Hopefully you are all still willing to stay informed. Any new variant, especially one that is this *contagious, has the potential to increase hospitalizations and/or deaths.
UPDATES ARE IN COMMENTS
XBB.1.16, is a subvariant of Omicron and part of the new class of XBB subvariants. It is prevalent in India and made its way to North America and 20+ countries in the world thus far. We will all be seeing it soon.
*See US CDC chart below for the previous variant contagion (XBB1.5 from which this variant mutated...and the second pinned note)
“It does not appear to produce more severe disease, so for the moment it is a variant of interest and not a variant of concern,” said Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a43592554/arcturus-xbb16-new-covid-variant-what-to-know/
📌 Ability to avoid prior immunity from a previous infection due to spike protein mutation
📌 XBB.1.16 is likely to be more contagious than prior variants*
📌 XBB.1.16 likely to produce more high fever
📌 More conjunctivitis, and pink eye with inflammation of the insides of the eyelids
📌 Eyes that are itchy and red, esp.in children.
All or some of these symptoms are still as likely as before...
Most common symptoms of COVID-19 remain:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
This chart shows the US variants of concern and how contagious XBB 1.5 is ... still. This new variant is likely even more contagious, but hopefully not as deadly as some predecessors. *The variant chart is updated in the comments or visit the CDC to keep track of variants in US HERE: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions
This is the Whitehouse answer to COVID (not that COVID gives a shit)
In closing, know that COVID will never give a shit that CDC or the Whitehouse or antivaxxers or hospitals and clinics and dentists declare it over, which nearly all have.
I will still be wearing an N95 mask whenever I leave the house and am with people I do not know... Am I going to be alone?
In my area over 85% of the population is fully vaccinated, 40% are boosted, and 3% of hospital admissions are for covid. I avoid indoor areas with large numbers of small children, and wear a mask only if it's crowded looking and I will be inside for more than 15 minutes. I'm still not doing indoor live music events. Othewise, no mask, since lots of outdoor options.
WHO advisers recommend switch to monovalent
XBB COVID vaccine
A new variation is on the scene! XBB 2.3 It has become the number 2 variant circulating in India and other Asian countries as it circumvents the immune system and antibodies. It has thus far not increased deaths, so that's good... but needs to be watched as it may be damaging the immune system as it evades it. (Just speculation as of now, studies are underway)
I'm on Team N95 for the foreseeable future thanks. 😎
You're not alone in masking.
We may be mocked by the ignorant, but I think we'll have the last laugh!
WHO declares covid no longer a global health emergency
May 5 , 2023… ‘At a news conference in Geneva, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was making the announcement with great hope. The shift in status “does not mean that covid-19 is over as a global health threat,” Tedros said. “Last week covid-19 claimed a life every three minutes. And that’s just the deaths we know about.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/05/05/who-covid-global-health-emergency/
USA: End of the Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Declaration
Canada: Many provinces stopped updating data daily and then in March, most stopped providing it at all. April 12 was the last day that the Canadian Government updated its data... although they pretend now to do it weekly!! EG: This week they admit 84 deaths, yet for the 2 weeks prior there were "0" and they somehow have a lower death count mid April. https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/#a2
And now the researchers are saying the Long Covid can lead to some really shitty outcomes like Parkinson's, Lewy Body Syndrome, dementia and other nasty things.
The WHO has elevated XBB.1.16 to be the second Variant of Interest (VOI) on its list as it is now in 31 countries.
Let me remind that, although very contagious, it has thus far not increased the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, but has the potential to do so by the mere fact that increased cases will often mean more deaths.
The CDC in the US (The envy of the world for sure) is keeping a close eye on this new variant as well. Below are data charts that anyone can easily read. Although the cases have nearly doubled, the number of deaths and hospitalization are still slowly decreasing.
April 21, 2023.
April 18, 2023: FDA authorizes changes to simplify use of bivalent mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. The monovalent vaccines are no longer approved in the USA, being only Omicron variants are being detected. The info is here: https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccines
April 18, 2023: FDA authorizes second bivalent COVID boosters for seniors, other at-risk groups. "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today authorized second bivalent (two-strain) COVID-19 booster doses for people ages 65 and up and for those with weakened immune systems, a step designed to shore up immunity in the most vulnerable groups until fall." https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/fda-authorizes-second-bivalent-covid-boosters-seniors-other-risk-groups
Yep, we are currently in a minor outbreak at work this week. I call it minor because one person brought it in, held a meeting last week with 5 other people. The only person in that meeting to become the next winner of Covid Roulette was the only one not vaxxed in the room. No others developed Covid. I know this is just anecdotal but I think it shows the vaccines are out performing "muh natural immunity".
Thank you for posting this, VOICUL.
When I read this update it reinforced my plan, as a healthy but plump boomer, to get another bivalent at the 6-month mark (soon) and continue to N-95 mask in public spaces, but to feel a little freer to enjoy small family/close friend gatherings (except with the obligate morons). And to jump on the newest vaccine bandwagon come fall. It's not over - you're exactly right. Thankfully, though, it's not an automatic death sentence, thanks to Actual Modern Medicine, so the gut-wrenching terror is abated. When I look back on Spring 2000 it just blows me away. I vividly recall reading an article in May 2000 (I think in "Nature") saying this would last 2+ years. I burst into tears. Which turned out to be totally appropriate.
Stay safe & well my SAV friends. You're the best!