Admissions, masks & variants: 6 COVID-19 updates

COVID-19 hospital admissions are up almost 16 percent from the week prior, according to the CDC's most recent data. Deaths due to the virus have also risen nearly 11 percent in the same time. 

The increase in cases has led to several health systems bringing back mask policies at their facilities, while others continue to hold off for now. 

Here are four other recent updates on COVID-19:

  • Demand for COVID-19 at home tests is increasing along with case counts, according to CNN. Which has also led some to question whether or not expired at home tests are still viable. FDA officials have confirmed that the use of expired COVID-19 tests should be avoided, but did provide a list of manufacturers that have extended expiration dates for some of the at-home tests that have been stored away since earlier in the pandemic.
  • Updated COVID-19 boosters are expected to be available as early as Sept. 13 and officials anticipate that the shots will provide protection against  some of the newer subvariants like EG.5, FL.1.5.1 and BA.2.86.

  • While buzz about the emergence of the highly mutated strain, BA.2.86, swirled in recent weeks, EG.5 continues to be the dominant strain throughout the U.S., according to CDC data. On its heels, FL.1.5.1 and XBB.1.16.6 and XBB.1.16 account for the other most common strains of coronavirus currently circulating.

  • Predictions about another 'tripledemic' differ among experts, but if one occurs, it could peak around the end of January 2024.

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