COVID-19 has claimed millions of lives around the world, and the vaccine race was brought on by the need to save as many people as possible. Today, the EG.5 variant is causing about 17 percent of new cases of the disease in the United States, while the World Health Organization?WHO? the identified as a new variant "of interest".
During a press conference organized by Ethnic Media Services, a group of specialists addressed the issue Given the increase in cases of COVID-19 driven by the new EG.5 variant, which, although the number of patients corresponding to the pandemic has not been reached, hospitalization rates increased 12.5 percent in July throughout the country, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States ?CDC, for its acronym in English ?.
Dr. Benjamin Neuman, professor of biology and virologist, shared information about EG.5: «It is a variant that is spreading rapidly and is the child of many variants, basically it is another version of the Omicron. It has about a hundred differences from the original version and it is necessary to mention that the virus is constantly changing. Counting broadly, there are 30 mutations per year, which is too many variants.», he stressed.
In the United States, only 17 percent of the population has accepted the new vaccine even though variants and new cases keep popping up all the time. For experts, it is important to apply it, since the virus changes constantly and the body must be kept prepared, if the virus updates, the system should also update to fight it.
«From the studies we have now, the new variants are pretty similar and this year's vaccine seems to work very well with all of them.», pointed out the professor neumann.
For his part, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, associate dean of Regional Campuses and specialist in the treatment of infectious diseases, pointed out that although it is true that current cases are increasing due to EG.5, it is nothing compared to the previous ones. previous years, because many have already contracted the disease and most have been vaccinated at least once, making the disease less lethal.
Although the EG.5 variant seems to be a new threat, today we have the tools to treat it: drugs and procedures that were not available at the beginning, allowing patients to get out of a risk picture and quickly stabilize or even with adequate treatment, they do not end up being hospitalized, and if necessary, their faster discharge.
«The tragedy can be prevented, it is to recognize that these health problems can be COVID, because time is money, and the sooner you know that you have the disease, the better, to be able to take action and not wait until it is too late".
For Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, having medicines and various investigations by specialists in many areas today is a great relief for society and they should not worry more for the variant EG.5.
The specialist recalled that at the beginning of the pandemic we were facing a disease that did not have previous studies to determine a totally effective treatment, unlike the current scenario of this new variant.
To ensure that people stay safe, it is necessary to comply with the recommended vaccination schedule, although there is no specific vaccine to combat the EG.5 variant, the current vaccines are efficient and this year, around the month of September, the new vaccine will come out.
Even if people have previously received a vaccine, they will need to update with the new one and, if necessary, implement hygiene measures again.
«We hope that therapeutic agents will be available to anyone who needs them. Today the challenge will be differences in access to health care, particularly we are concerned with communities that are minorities, we are talking about different languages, races, ethnicities and rural locations, all of these things will continue to be a challenge as we drive COVID towards the future", expressed the doctor Schaffner.
What can be done in the presence of the new variant EG?5?
The EG.5 variant already was added to the WHO monitoring list, worrying the entire medical community, since is present in Ireland, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, China and other countries, leaving the question of what measures to take.
The specialists make a call not to stop vaccinating, as this is the best preventive measure, there are programs that are free to have access to vaccines, so costs should not be an obstacle to keeping up with the vaccines .
They also recommend getting tested before visiting family and friends who represent vulnerable people such as pregnant women and adults.
Continuing with hygiene measures can reduce the risk of acquiring COVID.
The use of the mask in closed places is necessary if you want to take care of yourself, especially when this place is very crowded. For external places it is not necessary to use it, as long as you manage to maintain a considerable distance between other people.
Prevention and medical care in the face of any suspicion is a key element to start treatment on time and not reach a hospital when it is too late.
Continuing with preventive care will make the difference in the face of the new EG.5 variant, it should not be minimized because it is no longer a pandemic, the care and attention of each person is what has previously reduced the risks of this disease and now should not be the exception.
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