What to Know About the Latest Covid Wave in New York City (NY Times) “New coronavirus cases have been steadily rising since July, according to data from the New York City Health Department. The seven-day average of total cases, which includes confirmed and probable cases, was 672 on Aug. 14, compared to 289 on May 16...” And that’s just reported cases. (n.b. We have free test kits available at my district office at 563 Columbus.)
Katelyn Jetelina rounded up the current advice on fall vaccines for flu and RSV (we won’t know about COVID boosters until next month) in last week’s edition of her Your Local Epidemiologist newsletter. (Also: What to Know About the New R.S.V. Immunizations—NY Times)
And this week Jetelina runs down “what we know, what we don’t know” about the new BA.2.86 variant. What’s significant about it, she says, are the 35 mutations on the “spike” of the virus—“as big of an evolutionary jump as Wuhan → Omicron.” A U.S. lab says that 16 of those mutations evade existing antibodies—which means “this will likely infect many people, regardless of prior immunity.” The existing handful of people infected with BA.2.86—on three continents—didn’t have a travel history, suggesting they caught the virus locally; and there are rising levels of BA.2.86 in wastewater samples without corresponding cases. The CDC and WHO are both monitoring. The next Greek letter in line for naming “variants of interest” is “Pi”; we’ll see if BA.2.86 rises to that level. If you want to go deep, this from Nature: Why a highly mutated coronavirus variant has scientists on alert.