Cases of coronavirus covid infection are on the rise in the northeastern United States, as many Americans travel and gather together for spring break and religious holidays.

The growth is driven by BA.2, a sub-variant of Omicron that is more advanced than its sibling BA.1, and was responsible for evaluating 86% new Covid-19 cases across the country last week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With precautions were relaxed in many places earlier this year, experts looked to see if BA.2 would lead to another surge. “That’s what the beginning of the leap looked like in the past,” said Julia Raifman, an associate professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health.

The increase in cases is expected to lead to disruptions in school and work as more people become ill. The U.S. is now at a “key point to trigger action,” Reifman said. “If we take decisive action to reduce transmission, we will reduce the increase in cases … and if we don’t, then we really leave the virus to decide what will happen next.”

The number of cases in the United States remains relatively low, and in some parts of the country is still declining. But in the U.S. as a whole, the numbers are rising: an average of 30,000 people each day tested positive in the U.S., up from about 26,000 last week. according to in the CDC.

Washington, DC, where Mayor Muriel Bowser and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they contracted COVID-19 last week, has one of the highest averages in two weeks. Rhode Island, Maryland, Kansas, Oregon, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York have seen more than 60% increases.

Philadelphia became the first city to resume its mandate for indoor masks on Monday, trying to prevent a rise in hospitalizations, which is a model of the University of Pennsylvania predicts may grow in the coming weeks. The city will also add requirements to present evidence of vaccination if cases continue to rise.

The White House updated his public mask mask for another two weeks on Wednesday.

Several universities across the U.S., including Columbia, American, Georgetown, George Washington, John Hopkins, and Rice, are also returning to camouflage mandates on campus.

However, hospitalization in the US by Covid is at a record low 74% hospital beds that are currently used for all reasons across the country. But hospitalization can be an indicator of lag, so it’s not yet clear whether BA.2 will hit the healthcare system hard.

The death toll stays just above 500 every day. Doctors hope that access to treatment, including monoclonal antibodies and antiviral drugs for those most vulnerable, could halt the increase in hospitalizations and deaths associated with Covid.

But federal funding for these drugs is running out, without a new deal still in place. Only 1.5 m of the planned 10 million courses of the antiviral drug Paxlovid, for example, have been delivered to states and territories.

Hospitalization and death – not the only serious results – long-term Covid is also a real concern, Raifman said. The official number of cases is also affected by the prevalence of home testing and the lack of affordable testing for those without insurance, she added.

“We’re really going back in our response, even if the virus stays with us.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/14/ba2-variant-covid-cases-us-rise-north-east-omicron

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