Omicron variant BA.5 dominant in NY

Omicron variant BA.5 dominant in NY

FILE - A Northwell Health registered nurse fills a syringe with a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop up vaccination site the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center, April 8, 2021, in the Staten Island borough of New York. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, June 30, 2022 recommended that COVID-19 booster shots be modified to better match more recent variants of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file)

East Farmingdale, NY- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that the Omicron sub-variant known as BA.5 had become the dominant strain in the United States. BA.5 is now responsible for approximately 50% of all COVID-19 infections in the US and almost 50% of all infections in New York State. Some epidemiologists believe that Ba.5 might contain mutations that allow it to escape protection from both natural immunity as well as coronavirus vaccination.  Rochelle Wallensky, Director of the CDC tweeted that “in April, adults 50+ with 2 booster doses were 4x less likely to die from #COVID19 compared to those with 1 booster dose. A 2nd COVID-19 booster in adults 50+ can enhance protection. I encourage you to get your 2nd booster if you’re 50 and older”.

Omicron specific boosters are anticipated for the fall but it’s unclear, who might be eligible to get one and when they would become available.  According to data from the New York State Health Department, Long Island currently has the highest COVID-19 positivity rate in the state, with a 7 day average at 9.79%

Region   Saturday, July 2, 2022  Sunday, July 3, 2022  Monday, July 4, 2022  
Capital Region  7.80%  7.98%  7.83%  
Central New York  5.11%  4.93%  5.13%  
Finger Lakes  5.26%  5.45%  5.38%  
Long Island  9.47%  9.61%  9.79%  
Mid-Hudson  8.03%  8.47%  8.85%  
Mohawk Valley  6.66%  6.61%  6.70%  
New York City  8.27%  8.62%  8.97%  
North Country  5.48%  5.57%  5.65%  
Southern Tier  4.85%  5.00%  5.13%  
Western New York  8.16%  8.45%  8.19%  
Statewide  8.04%  8.33%  8.58%  

COVID-19 is airborne and spread through fine particles in the air. In areas of high COVID-19 spread, such as Long Island, experts suggest persons over the age of two wear a high quality (N95) mask indoors to help reduce the risk of infection and reduce the spread of the virus.

Photo: (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file)
By Brett Levine