The BA.5 version of COVID-19 has become the majority variant of the virus in America in a matter of weeks, in a troubling development that comes amid what may already be America’s second-largest wave of the pandemic.
It also comes at a time when much of the US has relaxed nearly all COVID restrictions in public and life has largely returned to normal.
“COVID-19 is very clearly not over. We’re seeing dramatic increases in the number of cases and hospitalizations in many places throughout the United States,” said Jason Salemi, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health.
As BA.5, one of the Omicron sub-variants, begins buffeting the US, “we’re headed in a bad direction”, Salemi said. “We’ve seen it coming for a while … We’ve seen it go pretty unabated.”
State officials said Friday they will scale back the number of times each week that they post COVID-19 data to the official dashboard from five days a week to just one, an alteration they say reflects the changing nature of the pandemic.
The data will be posted every Thursday and the change takes place next week, the Department of Public Health said in a statement.
Under the new plan, the contact tracing and clusters tabs will be removed from the COVID-19 Cases category. That data, the statement said, no longer represents the situation due to changes in investigation and tracing practices.
|Town of Franklin Health Dept COVID portal|