Third Leading Cause of Death in the US 2020 and 2021

COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States between March 2020 and October 2021, according to an analysis of national death certificate data by researchers at the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. The study appears July 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

COVID-19 was third leading cause of death in the United States in both 2020 and 2021 — — “Leading Causes of Death in the United States during the COVID-19 Pandemic, March 2020 to October 2021” appears July 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Two Omicron subvariants — BA.4 and BA.5 — are propelling the growth of COVID-19 infections this summer as they become the dominant coronavirus strains in the U.S.

These variants now make up 52.3% of infections, with BA.5 accounting for 36.6% of new cases and BA.4 accounting for 15.7% of new cases, according to the latest CDC data. The week before, the subvariants made up about 37.4% of cases…Although hospitalizations and deaths remain low compared to earlier Omicron waves, public health officials have warned about certain severe symptoms seen with the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, as well as the risk for ongoing health problems, particularly as people get reinfected again and again.

Two Omicron Subvariants Drive Summer Infections —

These novel subvariants carrying additional mutations in their spike proteins raise concerns that they may further evade neutralizing antibodies, thereby further compromising the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutic monoclonals.

Antibody evasion by SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4, & BA.5 —

The Omicron sub-variant BA.5 is the worst version of the virus that we’ve seen. It takes immune escape, already extensive, to the next level, and, as a function of that, enhanced transmissibility, well beyond Omicron (BA.1) and other Omicron family variants that we’ve seen (including BA.1.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4). You could say it’s not so bad because there hasn’t been a marked rise in hospitalizations and deaths as we saw with Omicron, but that’s only because we had such a striking adverse impact from Omicron, for which there is at least some cross-immunity (BA.1 to BA.5). Here I will review (1) what we know about its biology; (2) its current status around the world; and (3) the ways we can defend against it.

The BA.5 story —

Be careful.

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