Right now COVID is running rampant again, and it’s the BA.4 and BA.5 variant, the subvariants of omicron, that is now the dominant strain (BA.5 that is).
This is because BA.5.has 3 key mutations in its spike protein that make it better at infecting our cells, and better at evading our immune system. BA.5 is the most transmissible, the most contagious version of covid to date. And oh yeah, it has properties of the delta variant, specifically it’s higher propensity to get down into your lungs, and that’s why some are calling this, the real DELTACRON.
Just when you think COVID is over, and you think all is well, because you’ve either been vaccinated, or you had previous covid infection, or both…well guess what?!
It only took 2 months for BA.5 to become the dominant strain in the United States, and tons of people are getting sick right now. Chances are you know someone who’s been sick with BA.4 or BA.5.
More and more people are diagnosing themselves with at home rapid tests, which means a higher percentage of cases are not being reported. So its becoming harder and harder to know the actual number of cases.
Right now, the number is 110,000 new covid infections per day – but of course we know that the true disease burden is way higher than that.
It’s estimated to be that for every reported case, there are 8-10 cases that are unreported. Which means an estimated 1 million new cases of covid every day.
BA.4 and BA.5 don’t really care about your previous infections or vaccinations. Because they do a great job of escaping those antibodies.
That’s certainly what happened with me, and a lot of people I know personally.
I came down with covid in early June, most likely BA.4 or BA.5.
I developed symptoms about 2-3 days after going out to a concert. Fatigue. Fever. Congested. Cough. And oddly enough, a very sore throat.
Most of those symptoms started to fade after 4 days. But the fatigue and cough took a solid 2 weeks to improve. And even then, I still had some leftover crap that I was coughing out of my lungs.
Thankfully I was never short of breath…and I didn’t need any medications….but it was NOT a fun experience….despite it being considered only “mild” covid illness. Because moderate or severe illness would have meant a trip to the hospital.
So here you have someone who was triple vaxxed, otherwise in great health, who was sick for 2 weeks.
But here is the thing. I personally know a lot of people who are having very similar experiences with this new BA.5 variant. Including this nasty sore throat, which really wasn’t a thing with previous variants. Definitely one of the worst sore throats I’ve ever had.
But if I’m triple vaxxed, and otherwise very healthy..I mean, I exercise, I eat very clean, I rarely eat processed food, been getting good sleep…
I thought that if I got covid, especially with omicron or its subvariants, that it would be nothing more than a mild cold that lasted a few days.
So what gives?
It’s mainly 2 things.
For one, even though I received 3 shots, my last one was 8 months before getting COVID…and we know that immunity generally wanes after 5 months from the vaccines. Two, we know that BA.4 and BA.5 are better at evading those antibodies.
In fact, they’re escaping antibodies from those who’ve had previous covid infections, including omicron.
That’s right if you had omicron infection this spring, there is still a real possibility that you can get sick from BA.4 and BA..5. Although it’s still too early to know just how sick people can get from these variants.
What we do know is that right now the percentage of patients requiring the intensive care unit has increased 23% over the last two weeks. Is it because there are more infections, or is it also because BA.4 and BA.5 causes more severe illness? To early to tell right now.
But the bottom line is, this variant doesn’t really care about your previous antibodies to covid. You can still get sick from this virus. So in that sense, it doesn’t matter if you’ve had covid before, or if you’ve been vaccinated, especially if it’s been more than 5 months from your last shot.
The vaccines are great at protecting against severe covid, but not so much when it comes to mild COVID.