New York: Amid the rise of several new Covid variants, the US is seeing a 16 per cent jump in the SARS-CoV-2 virus-related hospitalisations, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC data shows an increase in hospitalisation over the past week — a trend that began rising in late July.
States like Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming saw more than 30 per cent increase in hospital admissions over the past week.
This has raised concerns as the spike comes after a quiet year in which hospitalisations and deaths were lying low since January.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned of “concerning trends” for Covid ahead of winter.
The UN health agency estimates that hundreds of thousands of people around the world are currently hospitalised with the virus. However, the true number could be much higher because many countries have stopped reporting Covid data.
“We continue to see concerning trends for Covid-19 ahead of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online press conference.
“Deaths are increasing in some parts of the Middle East and Asia, intensive care unit admissions are increasing in Europe and hospitalisations are increasing in several regions,” he added.
Ghebreyesus said while there is not currently a single dominant Covid variant worldwide, the EG.5 Omicron subvariant is on the rise. The highly mutated BA.2.86 subvariant has also been detected in 11 countries, he noted.
The WHO is “monitoring this variant closely to assess its transmissibility and potential impact,” he added.
Meanwhile, the US is rolling out updated booster shots from Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax later this month for a fall vaccination campaign.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the US is well prepared with shots, antivirals and at-home tests heading into the fall and winter.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on Covid, said that preliminary data suggests that existing vaccines will give protection against BA.2.86. She emphasised the need for testing and vaccination given that viruses like influenza and RSV are also in circulation.