Last month we let you know the good news that the Covid-19 case numbers were still low in Houston. We also cautioned that the numbers were about to rise again. Unfortunately the numbers have begun to rise; and they’re rising quicker than we had expected. At the time of our May update the positivity rate for Harris County was recorded at 5.4%; as of this writing the positivity rate for Harris County is a staggering 21.2%. Below are the quick facts on which variants are responsible for this rise, how this change has occurred so quickly, and what to expect in Houston over the next month.
- As predicted, Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 have begun to take off in the United States. The CDC estimates Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 make up 21.6% of Covid-19 in the United States as of June 11, 2022.
- Last month BA.4 and BA.5 were less than 0.1% of infections.
- The main Omicron variant we have been dealing with since January is still here making up 72.6% of infections.
- The last large surge we had Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants are proving to be more contagious than earlier strains of Covid-19 so it is spreading fast.
- The BA.4 and BA.5 variants are proving to be resistant to antibodies from previous infections and vaccinations.
- The antibodies that everyone made in December and January during the last spike in Houston are wearing off and because the new variants are resisting our antibodies we are experiencing this very quick rise in infections again. Not as quick as the original omicron wave, but still 21.6% is a lot of people.
The Good News
- Good News: BA.4 and BA.5 infections are still exhibiting mild symptoms and decreased risk of hospitalization similar to the original Omicron variants.
- The medical and hospital system is not being overloaded like it was in the December and January spike.
- Harris County’s Covid-19 positivity rate is currently 21.2%, this is last month’s low of 5.4%.
- Despite this rise of cases Harris County is currently still in Threat Level Yellow, which according to Harris County officials, signifies “a moderate, but controlled level of Covid-19 in Harris County”
- The threat level not going up is great news! It is a good indication that the medical system, and our city as a whole, is handling this wave much better than the last. Hopefully these waves will get smaller and smaller with time.
What to do Right Now
- The CDC advises everyone ages 5 years and older to get vaccinated and everyone ages 12 and older to get boosted as well.
- Immunocompromised and the elderly are encouraged to talk to their doctor about possibly receiving a second booster.
- If you want to learn more about the Covid-19 pandemic and how to keep you and your family safe visit
- As always, the elderly are a fragile and at-risk population when it comes to infectious diseases. If you are feeling sick, please consider rescheduling your visit to elderly friends and family.