Ky. is mostly green on CDC map but partly in big cluster where masks still advised; Fauci says mutated virus may cause uptick
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News
Largely surrounding that cluster are 37 counties in yellow, where the CDC says residents who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness should talk to a health-care provider about “additional precautions, such as wearing masks or respirators indoors in public. If you live with or have social contact with someone at high risk for severe illness, consider testing yourself for infection before you get together and wearing a mask when indoors with them.”
The remaining 59 counties are in green, indicating low risk. The weekly rankings are based on new coronavirus cases, Covid-19 hospitalizations and the percentage of staffed inpatient beds occupied by Covid patients.
Hospitalizations are the key metric to watch as the Omicron BA.2 sub-variant of the virus threatens to increase case numbers, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on the PBS “NewsHour” Thursday evening.
Cases are rising in the United Kingdom and some other European countries, and “We generally follow the European Union, particularly the UK, by about three weeks,” Fauci said. (The U.K. is no longer in the Union.)
“I wouldn’t be surprised in the next few weeks if we see an uptick in cases,” because preventive measures have been relaxed and immunity is waning, said Fauci, President Biden’s top medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
He said the BA.2 mutation “has a slight to moderate transmission advantage” over the original Omicron variant, but “It doesn’t appear to be any more severe and it doesn’t seem to evade immune responses.”
Asked about Pfizer‘s request for emergency use of an additional booster shot for seniors, Fauci said he “wouldn’t be surprised that at least some set of people” will need a second booster “within some set of time.”