The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday that for the week ending July 16, the circulating coronavirus variants in the country were assessed to consist of 77.9% of the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron.
Globally, there has been an increase in new infections due to BA.5, which has demonstrated a propensity for bypassing immune protection provided by immunization or prior infection.
According to the statistics, 12.8 percent of the circulating variations in the United States are Omicron subvariant BA.4.
The American health agency has requested that vaccine producers target those subtypes for a potential booster shot for the fall season.
U.S. health officials are also advising anyone 50 years of age and older to receive a booster shot, stressing that doing so would not preclude them from receiving a second “bivalent” booster intended to more specifically ward off Omicron later this year.
A COVID-19 instance involving the BA.5 was also found in the city of Shanghai, a representative revealed during a briefing last week, prompting concern about the variant’s spread around the world.
According to Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, those who are unvaccinated have a five times greater chance of contracting the virus than those who have been vaccinated and given a booster shot, while their chances of hospitalization are 7.5 times higher and their chances of dying are 14 to 15 times higher.
Incidences of the BA.1, BA 1.1, and BA.2 omicron subvariants have decreased as the BA.5 strain gains in popularity.