For all intents and purposes, life seems to have returned to normal more than any other time since March 2020. Masks are scarce, restaurants are crowded, and movie theaters are putting up blockbuster numbers. It can be easy to forget that the pandemic is not, in fact, over quite yet and that the threat of widespread reinfection may be more real than we’re comfortable acknowledging. California, for one, is struggling with a new wave of infection driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, public health and infectious disease experts in the state are warning clinicians that the threat of increased hospitalizations is actually growing by the week (and for the first time in a while) specifically because these subvariants are being blamed for reinfection of patients who have recovered from the virus, and because they’re “better able to infect lung cells than the earlier BA.2 subvariant of Omicron,” LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Times. There’s little comfort to being located outside of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, either; data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that, combined, the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants accounted for more than half of COVID-19 cases in the week ending June 25 in the United States. Remind patients and staff that the threat of infection (and reinfection) calls for vigilance and reasonable precaution.
Be Aware: Omicron Subvariants Linger and Are Increasing Risk for COVID-19 Reinfection