The Perfect Enemy | Boston doctor discusses COVID-19 subvariant that’s spread through New England - WCVB Boston
January 29, 2023

Boston doctor discusses COVID-19 subvariant that’s spread through New England – WCVB Boston

Boston doctor discusses COVID-19 subvariant that’s spread through New England  WCVB Boston

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Boston doctor discusses COVID-19 subvariant that’s spread through New England

ERIKA: A SINGLE SUBVARIANT OF COVID-19 NOW CAUSES MORE THAN 80% OF NEW INFECTIONS IN THE NORTHEAST. HERE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS IS DR. HELEN BOUCHER, THE DEAN OF TUFTS MEDICAL SCHOOL AND AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST AT TUFTS MEDICAL CENTER. GREAT TO SEE YOU. >> NICE TO SEE YOU. BEN: HEALTH OFFICIALS FIRST STARTED TRACKING THE OMICRON SUBVARIANT XBB-1.5 IN LATE OCTOBER. SINCE THEN, IT’S SPREAD VERY QUICKLY THROUGH NEW ENGLAND, NEW YORK, AND NEW JERSEY. WHAT IS IT DOING IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, AND THE WORLD? HAS IT BECOME DOMINANT EVERYWHERE? >> IT IS SPREADING AROUND THE COUNTRY IN THE WORLD BUT DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE SPREADING QUITE AS FAST AS IT HAS IN THE NORTHEAST. SOME ARE QUESTIONING IF IT HAS BEEN A LITTLE OVERESTIMATED IN THE NORTHEAST. I THINK THE KEY MESSAGE IS THAT IT IS HERE AND DOES APPEAR TO BE ADHERING TO CELLS A LITTLE BETTER AND A LITTLE MORE TRANSMISSIBLE, BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS WE HAVE NOT SEEN SURGES ASSOCIATED WITH IT YET. ERIKA: WE KNOW THAT PEOPLE AT HIGH RISK FOR COVID HAVE TREATMENTS NOW, INCLUDING PAXLOVID. ARE THEY STILL WORKING AGAINST THIS SPECIFIC STRAIN? >> ABSOLUTELY, YES. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE DIAGNOSED TO CALL YOUR PHYSICIAN TO SEE IF YOU QUALIFY FOR MEDICINES BECAUSE THEY WORK AND CAN REALLY PREVENT YOU FROM GETTING SERIOUSLY ILL. BEN: A LOT OF ADULTS GOT THE UPDATED BIVALENT BOOSTER WHEN IT WAS FIRST AVAILABLE IN SEPTEMBER. WHAT IS THE TIMING LOOKING LIKE US TO WHEN WE THINK WE MIGHT NEED ANOTHER BOOSTER? WILL WE MOVE TO THAT TRULY ANNUAL BOOSTING SCHEDULE? >> WE DON’T KNOW YET. I THINK THE KEY MESSAGE IS THERE ARE STILL MANY PEOPLE WHO NEED THE BIVALENT BOOSTER WHO HAVE NOT GOTTEN IT YET. I THINK IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE, YOU SHOULD REALLY GET THE BIVALENT BOOSTER. IT IS EFFECTIVE AND REALLY COULD MAKE THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOU FROM GETTING MILDLY ILL AND KEEPING YOU OUT OF THE HOSPITAL OR WORSE.

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Boston doctor discusses COVID-19 subvariant that’s spread through New England

Health officials first started tracking the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 in late October and it now causes more than 80% of new infections in the Northeast.

Health officials first started tracking the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 in late October and it now causes more than 80% of new infections in the Northeast.

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