Admissions, new strain & boosters: 4 COVID-19 updates

COVID-19 indicators continue to tick up in the U.S., and the CDC has started tracking a new strain. 

Here are four COVID-19 updates to know: 

  1. There were 10,300 new COVID-19 admissions for the week ending Aug. 5, a 14.3 percent bump from the week prior and the fourth straight week of significant increase. Overall, levels remain far below this time last year, when the weekly average for new admissions was above 40,000, according to CDC data. Still, healthcare leaders are watching moving trends closely as fall approaches amid concern over how the respiratory virus season could play out this fall and winter. 


  1. Global health authorities have started monitoring BA.2.86, a highly mutated version of the virus that's been detected in at least four countries, including a single case in the U.S. Not much is known yet about the strain, nicknamed "Pirola," as only a handful of sequences have been detected so far. Concern over the strain mostly centers on its large number of changes, which experts say is on par with the evolutionary jump that led to omicron's emergence. Meanwhile, EG.5 remains the dominant U.S. strain, accounting for nearly 21 percent of cases as of Aug. 19. 


  1. On Aug. 20, a White House official told Reuters the Biden administration plans to urge Americans to get an updated COVID-19 shot this fall, in addition to immunizations for flu and respiratory syncytial virus. Moderna recently said preliminary trial data showed its updated COVID-19 shot slated to be ready in September is effective against EG.5 and other circulating variants. Experts largely anticipate the updated shots, which were made to target XBB.1.5, to be effective against EG.5 since they're closely related. 


  1. At least three hospitals in New York have reinstated mask mandates amid an uptick in the number of patients testing positive and staff out sick with the virus. 

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