Understanding the New Subvariant of COVID: Key Information

Recent developments show the rise of “FLiRT” strains, subtypes of Omicron. They now make up over 50% of COVID-19 cases in the United States. This is a stark rise from less than 5% in March.

Potential for a Summer Surge

Experts speculate on a summer surge in COVID-19 cases from these new variants. But, CDC wastewater surveillance shows low viral activity.

Infectivity and Characteristics

Dr. Catherine Troisi from UT Health Houston notes that the FLiRT variants seem to be more infectious. They may spread more easily or evade immune responses better than previous strains. However, there is currently no evidence suggesting they cause more severe illness.

Vulnerable Populations

The most at risk are the same. They are the elderly and people with health conditions. They are especially susceptible to severe outcomes from these variants.

Public Health Measures and Vaccination

Dr. Troisi stresses masking for those with symptoms or exposure concerns. Masking is key in public settings. Updated booster shots, starting fall 2024, target broader groups to boost immunity against new variants.

Looking Ahead

Vaccination efforts now protect against the FLiRT variants. Tracking hospitalizations and deaths will show how COVID-19 will change.

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