6 ways to stay safe from winter COVID-19 surge; what adults, kids need to do – OregonLive

by | Oct 16, 2022 | COVID-19

Last year, the emergence of the highly transmissible omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus caught many people by surprise and led to a surge in cases that overwhelmed hospitals and drove up fatalities. Now we’re learning that omicron is mutating to better evade the immune system.Omicron-specific vaccines were authorized by the FDA in August and are recommended by U.S. health officials for anyone 5 or older. Yet only half of adults in the United States have heard much about these booster shots, according to a recent KFF poll, and only a third say they’ve gotten one or plan to get one as soon as possible. Only 260,000 Oregonians have gotten the new booster, state officials said last week, even though 2.6 million are eligible.In 2020 and 2021, COVID-19 cases spiked in the U.S. between November and February. Oregon health officials urged all eligible Oregonians to receive the updated booster to get ahead of the fall and winter surge in cases that is forecast. About 600 hospital beds could be occupied at the peak of the surge, which Oregon Health & Science University predicts will occur in December.Although we don’t know for sure that we’ll see another surge this winter, here’s what you should know about COVID-19 and the updated boosters to prepare.1. Do I need a COVID-19 booster shot this fall?If you’ve completed a primary vaccination series and are 50 or older, or if your immune system is compromised, get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as possible. Forty percent of deaths are occurring among people 85 and older and almost 90% among people 65 and over. Although people of all ages are being hospitalized from COVID-19, those hospitalizations are also skewing older.Unvaccinated people, while in the minority in …

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