A 2022 Covid update

Nidhi Nair, Staffer

A new year in the global pandemic means new changes to COVID and its cases. On Jan. 3, 2022, over one million people in the U.S tested positive for COVID among the Omicron variant’s surge. Although this variant is incredibly well-known for being “highly transmissible, even more contagious than the highly infectious Delta variant,” according to the Wall Street Journal, there are also many other variants spreading across the globe that the media has not been bringing as much attention towards them. 

 

A strain of the coronavirus was discovered on Jan. 8 that combines the delta and omicron variant, nicknamed “Deltacron.” NBC Chicago says that as of now, the scientific research team from Cyprus has “found 25 cases of the virus, according to the report. It’s still too early to tell whether there are more cases of the strain or what impacts it could have.”

 

In addition, “another new variant has been detected in France with 46 mutations and 37 deletions in its genetic code, many affecting the spike protein. This variant currently bears the name B.1.640.2,” says Forbes. For more context, the CDC states that “the spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. After the protein piece is made, our cells break down the mRNA and remove it.” This spike protein is vital for the creation of mRNA vaccines, so when the new variants continue to mutate, they can rearrange their genetic coding to replicate faster.

 

With cases spiking across the globe, the mutations of the virus are not uncommon with each continent contributing to the spread. These new daily surges are continuing to add up, as the number of patients being hospitalized in the US has recently hit an all-time high record. “More than 145,900 people were in US hospitals with Covid-19 as of Tuesday [Jan. 11],” says CNN. This is “a number that surpasses the previous peak from mid-January 2021 (142,246), and is almost twice what it was two weeks ago, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.”

 

In light of all the new variants and COVID stress that this news may bring, there are actions that the community can take towards preventing the spread of germs and viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) continue to strongly recommend the use of masks in public areas, receiving the vaccine and booster shots and getting tested when available. “Protect yourself and your community by getting your COVID-19 vaccine and wearing a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission,” says the CDC. Collectively making progress and staying safe is another step forward in this pandemic.