White House urges caution on COVID variants, pushes boosters

White House urges caution on COVID variants, pushes boosters

FILE - Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk along Broadway in the SoHo district of New York, March 4, 2022. The White House is planning for what it calls “dire” contingencies that could include rationing supplies of vaccines and treatments this fall if Congress doesn’t approve more money for fighting COVID-19. Biden administration officials have been warning for weeks that the country has spent nearly all the money approved for COVID-19 response. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(AP) — The Biden administration is calling on people to exercise renewed caution about COVID-19, emphasizing the importance of getting booster shots and wearing masks indoors. The warning comes as two new highly transmissible variants are spreading rapidly across the country. The new variants, labeled BA.4 and BA.5, are offshoots of the omicron strain that has been been responsible for nearly all of the virus spread in the U.S. and are even more contagious than their predecessors. White House doctors pressed the importance of getting booster doses, and says people shouldn’t wait until the fall for vaccines targeted at the variants in addition to the original strain.

Health experts say that wearing high quality masks indoors (like an N95) can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.  According to data from New York State Health Officials as of July 12, Long Island had the highest seven day positivity rate in the state at 10.85%

By the Associated Press with Brett Levine

Photo: (AP Photo/John Minchillo)