BA.5 remains dominant strand of COVID-19 as cases surge
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - On Thursday, officials with UAB Medicine provided an update to the COVID-19 pandemic in our community.
According to the CDC, much of Alabama has a high community level spread. BA.5 is the dominant strain leading a surge of cases.
Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo is the UAB Division Director of Infectious Diseases. She said BA.5 is the most transmissible strain yet. One of the reasons is that the variants are evolving to the vaccines.
“The vaccines that are available are still active against the current variant, the BA.5 of omicron, but they’re protecting against infection or acquisition of the virus as well as they did previous strains,” said Dr. Marrazoo.
Despite being in a surge, the rate of hospitalizations and death is lower than in previous surges.
As we head into this school year, Dr. David Kimberlin said it is important your child gets vaccinated.
“Vaccines across the age spectrum, 6 months to 95 years and beyond are highly effective at doing what we need them to do, and that is to prevent severe disease, hospitalization and death. It will not prevent every runny nose,” said the co-director of UAB and Children’s of Alabama’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.
Going back to school, Dr. Kimberlin recommends school districts follow CDC guidance, which includes universal masking.
“I think that’s sound advice, it’s measurable advice, it’s relevantly simple advice. And in my judgment, schools are well suited if they follow that. Will they? I don’t know.”
Dr, Kimberlin said he’s more confident heading into the year because the last two school years have shown the classroom is not an epicenter of virus transmission.
“The community extends well beyond just the walls of that school. So what the recommendations are in the community are gonna be what the recommendations are in schools as well,” said Dr. Kimberlin.
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