COVID-19 subvariant extremely contagious, infecting fully vaccinated and boosted people

Omicron subvariant and school kids
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 7:21 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The COVID-19 omicron subvariant BA.5 is the most dominant strain in this country and in just one week, health leaders say the number of cases nationwide has doubled.

Despite vaccinations and boosters, the subvariant is still getting lots of people sick.

Dr. Shad Marvasti with the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix said the virus is so contagious that a surgical mask won’t cut it. Although the virus isn’t getting individuals severely ill, the long-term side effects are what health leaders are worried about.

“The issue is reinfections actually are a problem. There was a big study that came out of the VA Health System that looked at more than 5 million people. Compared to those who just had one COVID infection, those with two or more infections of COVID ... had twice the risk of dying and three times the risk of being hospitalized six months from their last infection from some kind of long COVID lung problems, heart problems, depression, kidney problems, diabetes and other neurological problems,” Marvasti said.

The inflammation in the disease is increasing heart, lung and other diseases such as risk for diabetes. That’s why Marvasti said it’s important to get vaccinated, continue getting boosters and keeping those KN95 masks.

He said it’s important for parents to mask their children as well.

“That’s what we’re doing with our children. We’re making them wear a KN95 at school. We give them a little thing of hand sanitizer to make sure they’re doing all the sanitation stuff. ... Obviously it’s hard with kids but you do the best you can,” Marvasti said.

He said it’s important to mask up if you’re high risk or if you’ve had COVID several times. After having the virus, wait two to three months and go get a booster. Boosters for this strain will most likely be available this fall.

Marvasti said vaccinations and boosters are still recommended because they are doing a good job at preventing hospitalizations and death.

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