7 things to know about the new Govt variant

Omicron XE is a “reconstruction” of the Omicron BA1 and BA2 variants, which have so far been found in Thailand and the United Kingdom. Like other variants, health experts warn that XE will soon become very popular.

New Science: The next Govt variant will not be as mild as Omigran, the study says

How dangerous and contagious is this new variant and what should the Houstonians know about it? Dr. Catherine Troisy, a local COVID expert in epidemiology at the UTHealth School of Public Health, tells us everything Houstonians need to know.

The answers have been edited for length and clarity.

1. Is Omigron XE still found in Houston?

We have identified three cases so far in the United States that may be due to travel-related outbreaks. But I think – in general, it’s not just about XE – some communities, some cities or states reduce the testing and sequencing they do. There is also the worry that we will not be able to find them if we do not search for them.

If I were to say yes or no to whether this variant is going to make XE more widespread, I would say yes …. that is why funding for public health is so important, to keep track of what is happening.

2. Do you expect the Omicron XE to be available in Houston soon?

Here’s why we can do this: This variant makes XE seem slightly more diffuse than BA 2. Any variation will be more contagious, you can see better. But, if that’s why it’s not happening, it’s because we’ve been vaccinated (not as many as we’ve had to do) but a lot of people have been vaccinated and a lot of people have already had goiter. We do not yet know how much protection a previous infection will give you against this new variant.

Govt Help Desk: Where are the remaining Omigron hotspots?

3. How Dangerous is Omicron XE?

There is no data on its severity or whether it can prevent your immune system from being infected or vaccinated. But frankly, we are paying close attention to it, at least in the UK. But the fact that the Federal Reserve funds have not been approved by Congress is going to limit our efforts to keep up with what is happening. We pretend the infection is over, a lot of people have returned to pre-infection life… but the virus is not done with us.

At HoustonChronicle.com: With Govt funding stalls and masks coming out, some of Houston’s at-risk patients feel left out.

Although we see an increase in cases in some parts of the country, it is not yet an upsurge, but there is always that possibility. What this means is that even if you are not hospitalized or have no deaths, it is good, only if there are cases does the virus make itself more and more every time it makes itself more likely to have mutations, and we get new ones. Variations. That is why, again, although the number of hospitalizations and deaths is declining, we really want to reduce the number of infections as well. Although we have done a better job of this than we have in the United States, it is an epidemic and some parts of the world still see a lot of infections. We are a global community, people travel. As we saw with BA 1 in South Africa, it could spread. It may have started somewhere and then around the world.

4. What do we know about Omicron XE so far?

The best way to protect yourself from XE is to vaccinate and encourage yourself if it becomes a problem, and to wear a mask if you feel that there are a lot of people around you. Basically what the CDC said was that you have to make these decisions yourself. Now in Houston, as our cases are less, you can easily feel like going to the grocery store without a mask. On the other hand, I am wearing a mask because what is the defect? This is a small thing to protect yourself.

We do not have a very sensitive mechanism for quickly determining whether or not we can see an increase in the number of cases as many testing at home and testing sites are closing.

5. How is Houston now based on the Govt lawsuits?

There is concern that we may see a summer upsurge. Maybe as I mentioned, variations may come, even if it is not XE, it may be a new variant. But, since many cities and districts and states do not take precautionary measures such as wearing masks and social exclusion, make sure you are in well-ventilated areas if you are inside. That’s why worry. It’s hard to say what’s going to happen.

Houston cases: Houston sees a rise in BA.2, with the Govt Omigron subversion expected to dominate here

6. How cautious should people be at newer variants like Omicron XE?

I think we need to keep an eye on it. Do you have to panic about it? still no. But of course, public health people need to see what happens when new variations come in so that communications can be adjusted.

But my concern with others is that if I see a surge in the summer, I don’t know if people can wear masks again. I think that ship has sailed. It is not very good especially for the elderly, immunocompromised and pregnant women who are at high risk of infection.

Compared to the flu, you will receive a vaccine each year to protect yourself against recurrent diseases. It may turn out that way for Govt. But I would say that we have seen faster changes in the Govt than we have seen in the virus before.

7. Most people feel like they have the infection behind them. What public health measures should we still follow?

I’m very sad to see … (People do not wear masks properly) But now, if you wear N95 or KN94, there is good evidence that it fits well, and my risk from someone who does not wear a mask is very low. The CDC is basically bunt and you have to decide for yourself what to do. This will depend on how much risk you are resisting. It depends on your specific factors. If you are over 80, 85, you should wear a mask.

My concern about Govt disease is that I would say no to Govt for a long time. We are learning more and more about the long-term Govt. But I don’t want to be one of those unfortunates that affects their brains. Worth taking a risk. Frankly, not everyone agrees with me.

rebecca.hennes@chron.com

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