Dear Members of the Baylor College of Medicine Community,
As we begin the long Fourth of July Weekend, we still are rating high in COVID-19 case numbers in Harris County, so mask up in you are going to indoor public places. You should be fine outdoors. Worldwide, cases are up about 38 percent over the last 14 days and deaths are about the same.
In the United States, the case numbers remain flat at about 100,000. Cases are increasing in the South and West and declining in the Northeast and Midwest. Hospitalizations remain about the same, around 30,000 patients with coronavirus on an average day. That number has been consistent through June. Daily number of deaths have leveled at about 300, a fraction of the thousands seen during the winter Omicron peak.
In this week’s video, I show the latest wastewater results. That surveillance is really the best evidence of how we are doing. Not surprisingly, in the areas of high vaccination rates, the virus numbers are good and in areas with low vaccination rates, they are worse. All of Harris County is showing the virus is increasing through the wastewater surveillance.
There is also some interesting science to share this week, including the longer stay of the Omicron variant and an interesting paper in Nature looking at immune responses to Omicron BA.4 and BA.5. The spread is faster than BA.2 but we are not seeing the increase in deaths or hospitalizations. And for those who have asked this question, Paxlovid rebound is increasingly recognized.
Lily and I wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday. Lily has some big plans that she will share with you in the video. Stay safe.
Paul Klotman, M.D.
President & CEO