COVID Cases Surge Again Across US Including Florida, Tennessee
COVID cases are increasing in Florida and across the United States. Wastewater data, which measures the level of COVID in sewage samples, has shown a steady increase since late June.
Florida is included in the South region, which has followed the national trend. An updated booster shot is set to be released in mid-September, although it may not target the dominant variant.
However, health officials believe that the vaccine should still provide protection against serious illness, as all circulating strains are descendants of the omicron variant.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that Tennessee has seen a more than 30% increase in COVID cases diagnosed at emergency department visits.
Tennessee, along with Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Florida, has a moderate percentage of ED visits with diagnosed COVID-19. Alabama is the only state with a substantial change in the past week, according to the CDC.
In Tennessee specifically, there has been an increase of 7,652 new cases from August 19-26, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
Overall, the data suggests that COVID cases are on the rise in multiple states, including Florida, and that the situation should be closely monitored.
A new variant of COVID-19 called “BA.2.86” has been found in Texas. It is only the fourth reported case in the United States and was discovered in samples from people or wastewater.
Scientists at Houston Methodist identified the variant and are worried that it could lead to an increase in cases.
The World Health Organization is closely monitoring the BA.2.86 variant and has noted that it looks different from the original omicron variant. The main concern is that this new variant has 36 different variations in its spike protein.
However, current tests and medications for COVID-19 are still effective against it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So far, only a small number of cases of the BA.2.86 variant have been identified globally, spreading to 11 different countries. The WHO is keeping a close eye on it but has classified it as “under monitoring.”
Early reports suggest that this variant may be less contagious than other variants, and vaccinated individuals should still have some protection against it.
The CDC has stated that the recent increase in cases and hospitalizations in the United States is likely due to infections with other lineage viruses, not the new BA.2.86 variant.
Initially, there were concerns that this variant could be as powerful as the omicron variant, but officials have stated that this does not seem to be the case.
Regarding booster shots, the FDA is expected to approve a new COVID booster shot in mid-September. However, it is still too early to determine how effective this booster will be against the BA.2.86 variant.