COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in the US after new sub-variants emerge
COVID-19 infections have surged over the past month due to new and more contagious subvariants, dwindling vaccines and fewer people wearing masks.
Damien Henderson, USA TODAY
PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon is reporting some of the highest numbers of new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began more than two years ago, with Polk and Lane counties among those considered “intermediate” risk for COVID-19.
The Oregon Health Department reported nearly 12,000 new cases last week, and the state is averaging 1,685 new cases per day. That’s more than all but 12 weeks since the pandemic began in 2020. Hospital admissions continue to lag rising case numbers and remain well below previous pandemic highs.
On Monday, 278 people were hospitalized – up 11% from the week before – and those numbers are expected to peak on June 9 with 330 occupied hospital beds.
According to forecasts by Oregon Health & Science University, the number of hospitalized patients will peak on June 9 with 330 occupied hospital beds. Many of these patients are considered to be people hospitalized for other conditions who have also tested positive for COVID-19.
People in Oregon’s 15 counties, who are classified as “moderate” risk for COVID-19 by federal metrics, should consider putting on masks indoors in public.
These counties are: Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Columbia, Benton, Deschutes, Hood River, Tillamook, Yamhill, Polk, Lincoln, Lane, Wallowa, Union and Baker.
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The news comes as COVID-19 infections continue to rise, driven by new and more contagious omicron subvariants, waning immunity to both vaccines and previous infections, and fewer people in masks, health officials said at a White House briefing last week.
About a third of Americans now live in an area with moderate or high rates of COVID-19, with reported cases up 26% from last week, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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On average, about 3,000 Americans are hospitalized and 275 die every day. Walensky urged people in communities with higher infection and hospitalization rates to protect themselves by masking indoor public places and to get a booster shot when vaccinated and get vaccinated if they are not.
A rising tide of Omicron subvariants is partly behind the rise, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden.
At least four omicron subvarieties are now circulating in the United States. BA.2 is dominant, accounting for 50.9% of cases, but BA.2.12.1 is almost equal at 47.5%. The newer strains are even more contagious than earlier strains, contributing to an increase in cases.
He urged people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to contact their healthcare providers “as soon as possible” to see if a treatment is right for them, as treatments work better when started quickly .
The Associated Press and USA Today contributed to this report.