Concern Grows Over New Omicron Subvariant, As South Florida Hospitals See Dramatic Drop In COVID Patients

Concern Grows Over New Omicron Subvariant, As South Florida Hospitals See Dramatic Drop In COVID Patients

MIAMI(CBSMiami) — CBS4 has learned there has been a dramatic drop in the number of COVID patients at South Florida hospitals, but health experts are still concerned about the spread of the new Omicron Subvariant BA.2.

CBS4’s Peter D’Oench discovered that as of this Friday, there are now just 36 patients with COVID at the 7 hospitals in the Jackson Health System.

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That is down from 445 COVID patients on August 23rd of last year and down from 485 COVID-19 patients on July 27th of 2020.

Jackson Health said at the peak of the OMICRON variant, there were 564 patients on Jan. 12th of this year.

F.I.U. infectious disease expert, Dr. Aileen Marty, said “The news that cases are dropping not only at Jackson but at Baptist Health and Broward health is wonderful and reflects what is going on in the United States. Thanks to some new antivirals and new technology we are able to manage from home and people don’t have to come into hospitals. Plus we are also managing patients much better with the hospitals so we are getting them out the door sooner, meaning we don’t have a rising number of patients in the hospitals.”

But Dr. Marty is concerned about the BA.2 subvariant.

“BA.2 is 30 percent more transmissible than BA.1,” she said.

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“It has the same level of severity but it is distinctly different with different mutations than BA.1. I am cautiously optimistic and I am watching what is happening right now with our wastewater. We have had a 500 percent increase in SARS which is a leading indicator that cases may go up in the next few weeks.”

”Yes, I am concerned about the variant plus there are clear data that people who have had Omicron can get mildly ill with BA.2,” she said.

“So, the good news is that it tends to be mild, particularly with young individuals who tend to get infected with BA.2. We are not sure what is going to happen with someone who’s unvaccinated and gets BA.2 after BA.1. At the moment though I am very happy that we are not in a public health emergency from SARS COVID 2 which is great but it does not mean that we shouldn’t be cautious at the right time and in the right place.”

New figures show that BA.2 was responsible for 23 percent of new COVID-19 infections last week compared with 14 percent the week before.

White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci had some words of warning.

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”We certainly are concerned because I would not be surprised if that in the next few weeks as more and more people begin to open up and we have an increase in the BA.2 variant that we will be seeing an increase in cases. Hopefully, they will not be associated with the hospital and serious disease.”

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