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COVID concerns mount as new subvariants emerge – Boston News, Weather, Sports

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Concerns over COVID are growing as experts warn more subvariants of the virus could trigger another wave of hospitalizations.

White House officials have warned that COVID-19 is mutating again and that Americans will need to do more to protect themselves against the virus as a highly transmissable subvariant drives up new hospitalizations across the country.

“We have been watching this virus evolve rapidly,” White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said.

The recent BA.5 variant has caused an estimated 65% of new infections in the U.S. over the past week. A closely-related strain, BA.4, is believed to be responsible for another 16%.

“We do not know yet about the clinical severity of BA.4 and BA.5 in comparison to our other Omicron subvariants,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “But we do know it to be more transmissible and more immune-evading.”

In Massachusetts, Dr. Shira Doron, an infectious disease physician at Tufts Medical Center, said that although cases are rising in the Bay State, they have not led to higher hospitalization rates.

“What we’re seeing is a flattening, you know a plateau, and a plateau is not a level we don’t want,” Doron said.

Doron refuted claims that the new variant poses more of a risk, adding that it is not true that every subsequent variant is more contagious or more transmissible than the last.

The White House is urging Americans to stay up to date on their vaccines regardless of new variants, while officials work on a plan to allow second COVID-19 boosters for adults.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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