New omicron relatives make up nearly 20% of US cases: 4 updates

As BA.5 slowly descends, a collection of omicron relatives now make up 18.7 percent of U.S. COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC's latest variant proportion estimates

BA.5 is still dominant, accounting for 81.3 percent of cases for the week ending Oct. 1. BA.4.6 now makes up nearly 13 percent of cases; BF.7 makes up 3.4 percent; BA.2.75 makes up 1.4 percent; and BA.4 makes up 1.1 percent. 

The new variants "have significant growth advantage and more immune evasion," than BA.5, Eric Topol, MD, said in an Oct. 3 tweet. "A new wave is on the way. Good time to get a booster if you haven't had a shot in [more than] 4-6 months." 

Three more COVID-19 updates: 

1. Cases are expected to jump 10 percent over the next two weeks, according to modeling from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic. The forecast suggests daily average cases will increase from 43,071 on Sept. 28 to 47,594 by Oct. 12. Read more about other indicators that a fall surge is looming here

2. The CDC has dropped country-by-country travel advisories, The New York Times reported Oct. 3. The agency said it will no longer maintain the list of or advisories for foreign countries because "fewer countries are testing or reporting COVID-19 cases," limiting its ability to assess risks. The CDC said it will now limit travel health notices for "a concerning COVID-19 variant." 

3. The CDC revised its "up to date" COVID-19 vaccination term Sept. 30 to include the primary series and the recently authorized omicron-targeting booster. 


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