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People's Daily Online

BA.5 fuels another COVID-19 wave as U.S. infections surpass 90 mln

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 10:35, July 22, 2022

LOS ANGELES, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The latest and most transmissible COVID-19 variant has been driving another surge of infections in the United States as the country's total caseload topped over 90 million on Thursday.

U.S. COVID-19 case count rose to 90,066,295, with a total of 1,025,796 related deaths, as of Thursday afternoon, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University.

The United States remains the nation worst hit by the pandemic, with the world's most cases and deaths.

U.S. President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and is experiencing "mild symptoms," the White House said in a statement.

Biden, 79, is being treated with the antiviral Paxlovid and is fully vaccinated and twice boosted, the statement said.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha said Biden is tired, has a runny nose and a dry cough.

Jha told reporters at a White House briefing that being fully vaccinated and twice boosted would protect Biden from severe diseases of COVID-19. Taking antiviral Paxlovid will further lower the risks for severe results.

Biden's diagnosis came amid another COVID-19 wave in the United States, which is driven by the BA.5 subvariant, now the dominant coronavirus strain in the country.

The most contagious subvariant currently makes up nearly 80 percent of COVID-19 infections in the United States, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Another subvariant, BA.4, accounted for 12.8 percent of new infections, CDC data showed.

The two subvariants make up over 90 percent of new infections in the United States.

Confirmed cases contracted by the two subvariants kept increasing since mid-May, CDC data showed.

Zhang Zuofeng, chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Xinhua the two subvariants are more transmissible than earlier variants of Omicron, and can evade protection from vaccines and previous infections more easily.

Getting booster shots, though may not fully prevent people from infections, would offer protections against severe diseases, Zhang said.

The country is averaging about 126,000 new cases and 350 new deaths each day, CDC data showed.

While COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing again, states have no new plans, according to a report of Politico, a political journalism company.

"Strategies for managing 130,000 new daily COVID cases are largely the same as they were for managing 30,000 new daily cases four months ago," said the report.

As the latest and most transmissible COVID-19 subvariant has sent case numbers skyward, with hospitalizations and deaths also rising, the response from state officials has been largely muted, a concession to the reality that their messages rarely resonate and that most people -- even, and sometimes especially, politicians -- are ready to move on, said the report.

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