Coronavirus is here to stay: a new strain in Britain, an increase in cases in New York

After a year of near-silence from COVID-19, the virus appears again with a new strain – a descendant of the Omicron variant discovered in the UK; at the same time, in New York there is a new wave of infections, but the numbers are still lower than last year

Dr. Itay Gal|
Just when we thought that the coronavirus epidemic was behind us, the virus has returned around the world. A new strain of COVID-19 has been discovered in the United Kingdom; and in New York, a record number of infections not seen in months is being reported, but still lower than last summer. The new strains of the virus are much less dangerous today than they were previously, which is why pandemic restrictions and isolations were lifted a few months ago.
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Meanwhile, ahead of the winter flu season, Israeli health insurance funds will offer a new coronavirus booster that can be given at the same time as the annual flu shot.
The British Health Security Agency has reported that one out of every seven new cases of the coronavirus in July was caused by the new strain called EG.5.1, a descendant of the Omicron family. The agency monitored the prevalence of this strain due to an increase in the number of cases in many countries around the world and especially in Asia, according to the Sky network.
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בדיקת קורונה
בדיקת קורונה
There is an increase in cases of the coronavirus in the UK and in new York
(Photo: Shutterstock)
According to the latest data, the new strain is the second most common in the UK and accounts for 14.6% of new infection cases. The new strain appears to be spreading rapidly and may be the reason for the recent increase in cases and hospitalizations in the UK. The rate of coronavirus morbidity in Great Britain rose within a week from 3.7% of cases out of 4,403 cases of respiratory morbidity, to a rate of 5.4% out of 4,396 cases.
Officials say they are "closely monitoring" the increase in the infection rate, but a smaller increase was seen specifically in the elderly, apparently because many of them are vaccinated. The most dominant strain remains the Xbb.1.16, another descendant of the Omicron variant, which accounts for almost 40% of all cases.

'Summer flu' is spreading in New York

At the same time, people in New York warn that the "summer flu" experienced by many, which manifests itself in unexplained runny noses and coughs, may be the result of the coronavirus, which is also showing up in the Big Apple in bigger numbers, according to state authorities' data.
In New York as in Israel samples are taken of the sewage water from around the city, indicating an increase in the rate of positive samples, in which the XBB strain is found.
Hospitals throughout New York have also seen an increase in the number of hospitalizations for people with the coronavirus; however, the rate of cases is lower than what was observed last summer. In Israel, on the other hand, no change was observed in the rate of coronavirus infections.
The coronavirus is in constant decline all over the world, and about two months ago the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the epidemic is no longer defined as an "emergency" – about three and a half years after the virus first burst into our lives. The World Health Organization has stressed that the COVID-19 virus is here to stay, but it no longer represents an"emergency. The death rate has slowed from a peak of more than 100,000 a week in January 2021 to just over 3,500 a week by April 24, 2023.
Not long after the WHO announcement, the obligation to isolate for those who have been confirmed to have the coronavirus was canceled in Israel. The Health Ministry stated at the time that "in any case, it is important to continue to behave responsibly, and for those who are not feeling well it is recommended that they be tested and avoid contact with other people until the symptoms pass. In addition, it is important that those who test positive for the coronavirus remain isolated at home until the symptoms pass. If it is necessary to go out, avoid contact with the public and wear a mask.
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חיסוני קורונה באשדוד
חיסוני קורונה באשדוד
A new booster shoot against the coronavirus is coming to Israeli HMOs soon
(Photo: AP)
It is recommended that people get vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the ministry's guidelines, especially for those who are included in high-risk groups. Recently, the state canceled the free antigen tests funded by the state.

A new booster vaccine is coming soon

Toward winter, new booster vaccines for the coronavirus are expected to be offered that will protect against the XBB strain, and the recommendation will be to vaccinate against both the flu and the coronavirus.
In Israel, the HMOs are expected to start the winter flu vaccination campaign immediately after the Jewiah holidays. Again this year it will be possible to get the flu vaccine by injection from age six months and up, at any clinic without a referral and without an appointment. Those 65 and older will be given a double dose flu vaccine, this after the regular dose vaccines were found to be less effective in the elderly whose immune system is weaker.
Vaccines against the coronavirus also will be offered, which can be received at the same time in the person's other arm.
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