Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 — October 26, 2022

“Shared expectations lead to predictability.”

595.  The number of people getting booster shots is not adequate to prevent a surge.

         Q:  Are the booster shots working to get rid of Covid?

         A:  The data base Covid Act Now shows that less than half of the people eligible to receive the latest bivalent booster shots have done so.  This data shows that 95.0% of Connecticut citizens have received only one vaccine shot, while 81.8% have taken both of their Pfizer or Moderna shots or their single Johnson and Johnson shot.  This contrasts with only 44.3% of those eligible having had a booster shot.

In an article in the Saturday, October 22 issue of the Manchester CT newspaper Journal Inquirer, Eric Bednar pointed out that this is now happening “as cases once again surge in Europe and Asia setting up a potential spike in the United States in the wake 0f the upcoming holiday travel season and the pending flu season,”

The newest booster shot has been created to focus on reducing new infections from the Omega variants, but also to lessen the disease from developing more serious outcomes.

Have you received your up-to-date booster shot?

596.  New Covid-19 variants are coming.

         Q:  Are there new mutations of Covid on the horizon that could cause a surge here?

         A:  Jonathan Wolfe last week published an article in the New York Times addressing the emergence of this anticipated problem.  Several new Omicron subvariants have been steadily gaining ground in the U.S., setting off alarm bells ahead of fall and winter.  These variants include BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, which currently account for 11 percent of cases in the U.S., up from about 3 percent two weeks ago. Other Omicron offshoots are also growing steadily, including BA.4.6, BF.7 and XBB, which has been spreading quickly within in Singapore.

All these variants are new versions of Omicron, which initially showed up here almost a year ago.  Some of these mutations are actually able to get around the immunity that people may have received from being infected by the previous varieties of coronavirus.

Many people have decided for themselves that the pandemic is over, resulting in a lot less wearing of masks. On top of that, the immunity that people may have is waning over time.

Importantly, there’s no evidence that these new variants cause more severe disease. But the Omicron surge last winter showed us that if a so-called mild variant infects a huge number of people, hospitalizations surge. On the other hand, if there were a totally new variant that came out that could raise people’s odds of ending up in the hospital and of dying, that would be a lot worse.

It’s important that people get vaccinated. And if they haven’t gotten their booster shots, they need to do so as soon as they can.