Coronavirus Update: Omicron strains remain dominant globally, and the WHO is monitoring four closely

by | Feb 9, 2023 | Stock Market

The omicron strain of the COVID virus and its descendent lineages are still dominant globally but have declined in relative prevalence, according to the World Health Organization. In the week through Jan. 22, they accounted for 53.9% of prevalence among sequences submitted to a central database, down from 74.2% in the week through Dec. 25, the agency said in its weekly epidemiological update.

Pooled recombinant variant sequences rose to 24.6% from 8.8%, mostly due to XBB.1.5, which is dominant in the U.S. where most sequences were reported. The WHO is currently tracking four omicron descendent lineages closely, namely BF.7; BQ.1 and its lineages; BA.2.75 and its lineages; and XBB and its lineages. “These variants are included on the basis of signals of transmission advantage relative to other circulating variants and additional amino acid changes that are known or suspected to confer fitness advantage,” said the update.

Globally, the WHO counted nearly 10.5 million new cases in the 28 days through Feb. 5, down 89% from the previous 28-day period. The agency changed its reporting schedule last week to every 28 days from weekly in order to help smooth out fluctuations and delays in reporting numbers. The period saw more than 90,000 deaths, down 8% from the previous 28-day period. The WHO again cautioned that the true number of infections and reinfections are higher as shown by prevalence surveys, mostly because of a reduction in testing and surveillance in many countries. That includes the U.S., where President Joe Biden plans to end the twin pandemic emergencies on May 11. Those federal emergencies were put in place to give the government extra powers to deal with the crisis. See now: What happens when COVID-19 emergency declaration ends? Get ready for big changes to your health coverage and medical costs U.S. cases, hospitalizations and deaths are steadily declining. The seven-day average of new U.S. COVID cases stood at 39,978 on Wednesday, according to a New Y …

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