With the Omicron BA.5 subvariant now dominant across the U.S., Covid-19 cases are seeing an uptick in Lancaster County.
There were 579 weekly new cases reported here through Wednesday this week, according to Pennsylvania’s Covid-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard, up 19% from 485 cases the previous week and 466 the week before that.
Average hospitalizations inched up slightly as well, to 33.9 from 30.7. As of Friday, there were 32 Covid-19 inpatients in Lancaster County, of whom two were in intensive care, according to state data. None was on a ventilator.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said two weeks ago that BA.5 had become the dominant strain nationwide. Public health experts say most new infections are not being reported: Estimates of unreported ones range from 6 out of every 7 to 9 out of every 10.
If that’s the case, then the current wave is roughly the same magnitude as the one in January, reports CNN, which notes that the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care climbed about 23% in the past two weeks.
Vaccines and effective treatments are keeping deaths low, CNN says: “Still, about 300 to 350 people are dying on average each day from Covid-19, enough to fill a large passenger jet.”
Through July 8, there were four new Covid-19 deaths this month in Lancaster County, according to state data. There were 20 Covid-19 deaths in June, the state says: That’s four more than the 16 reported by the county coroner; the state’s tally includes Lancaster County residents who passed away outside the county’s border.
A lack of mitigation measures is contributing to coronavirus’ ongoing evolution, suggests an article in The Atlantic, citing University of Washington epidemiologist Dr. Helen Chu.
The Atlantic and CNN both take note of BA.2.75, another version of Omicron that appears poised to spread.
“Experts say it has all the halmarks of a variant that could go global,” CNN said.
Vaccine makers are expected to roll out fall boosters that target the BA.4 and BA.5 variants. In the meantime, individuals over 50 who have not gotten a second booster shot are being advised to do so.