A man was tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) on April 11, 2022 at a pop-up testing site in New York.
Brendon McDermide | Reuters
With the outbreak in New York City and Washington, D.C., covid infections are on the rise again in the United States, prompting senior government officials to come down with the virus as the more contagious Omicron BA.2 subvariant spread across the country.
BA.2 now represents 86% of new cases, almost completely displacing previous versions of the omicron that fueled the unprecedented winter wave, according to the Kovid surveillance data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. According to surveys in the UK and Denmark, the BA.2 subwoofer is 30% to 80% more transmissible than the previous Amicron, BA.1.
As of Sunday, about 29,000 new infections were reported daily in the United States, an increase of 10% over the previous two weeks, according to the CDC. However, the number of infections and hospitalizations is still more than 90% below the peak of Omicron growth in January.
Although infections are on the rise, most counties still have low rates of covid infections and hospital admissions, meaning people living in the area do not have to wear masks indoors under the CDC public health guidelines. Dr. Anthony Fawcett, the White House’s chief medical adviser, said this week that Covid will continue to be promoted in communities for the foreseeable future and that people will have to make individual decisions about the risks they are willing to take based on their age and health condition.
“What we’re hoping to happen will happen, and I believe it will happen. You won’t see a concomitant increase in severity in terms of hospitalization and death requirements,” Fawcett told ABC this week. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky previously stated that the US population’s immunity from vaccines and previous infections is high enough to provide some protection against BA.2.
The BA.2 subvariant is even more influential in the Northeast, where it is running a significant outbreak. BA.2 represents 92% of new cases in the region, including New York and New Jersey, according to CDC data. New York City is reporting an average of about 1,887 new infections per day as of Saturday, an increase of 52% over the past two weeks, according to the city’s Department of Health.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams tested positive for the virus after waking up in a raspy voice on Sunday. Adams attended the Gridiron Dinner in Washington, an annual event that brings together prominent government officials and journalists. At least 80 people who attended the dinner, for the first time since 2019, tested positive for covid, including several senior government officials, according to Gridiron Club president Tom Diffrank.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, Commerce Secretary Gina Raymondo, delegates Joaquin Castro and Adam Schiff and Sen. Susan Collins all tested positive after attending the dinner.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Also tested positive for covid last week but did not experience any symptoms and did not attend the Gridiron dinner. Pelosi’s positive result came when he sided with President Joe Biden at a bill sigh. Biden, who also did not attend the Gridiron dinner, later tested negative for Covid.
The outbreak came after White House cabinet officials and senior lawmakers said the rate of covid infection in Washington rose 73% in two weeks, although overall levels of infection were lower than in winter. BA.2 represents 84% of new cases in the Mid-Atlantic region which includes the country’s capital.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia has become the first major city in the United States to reinstate its indoor mask mandate, effective April 18. According to Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Sheryl Bettigol, the city made the decision after the Covid case increased by more than 50% in 10 days. .