COVID numbers remain low, but experts advise vigilance

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

York County's reported COVID numbers remain low even as experts warn about the circulation of newer, more transmissible variants.

The county reported 475 new cases and four deaths in the week ending on Wednesday, according to the state Department of Health, bringing its totals to 137,583 and 1,586 respectively since the pandemic began. Thirty-three people remained in county hospitals.

"COVID-19 has been relatively stable," York City Bureau of Health director Dr. Matt Howie said Thursday.

In the city, Howie said, the largest increase in cases is among those aged 20-39, with the second largest group being 60 plus. He stressed the need to remain vigilant against the disease.

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According to updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stats, variants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 have grown to account for over 10% of new infections across the country. B.A.4.6 has grown to make up 12.2% of new infections across the country.

"When you get variants like that, you look at what their rate of increase is as a relative proportion of the variants, and this has a pretty troublesome doubling time," White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS News.

Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital, told CNN that people should not panic about the new variants but pay attention.

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“We’re underperforming as a nation with people getting their bivalent boosters,” Hotez said.

Howie said the new variants are not yet a large issue, but they seem to outcompete the present group of variants.

"We are watching them carefully," he said.

 — Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.