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"Most of U.S. population now in areas with high levels of COVID-19 subvariant BA.5"

The Wall Street Journal interviewed Dr. Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health associate professor, about the current COVID-19 surge of subvariant BA.5 in the United States

Friday, July 15, 2022

More than half the U.S. population lives in counties where Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are high enough that people should wear masks in indoor public settings, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

The CDC’s latest assessment represents a significant jump from the week before, reflecting the added pressure that the easily spread Omicron BA.5 subvariant is putting on the U.S. since it became the dominant COVID-19 strain. Over a third of U.S. counties now fall into the CDC’s “high” category, up from one in five counties a week earlier.

“The message has to be, number 1, we are clearly in a surge,” said Dr. Shira Shafir, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health professor of epidemiology and community health sciences. “Number 2, you can absolutely get reinfected even if you were infected within the last 90 days because of this transition we are seeing in the subvariants.”