Ten CDC Findings On Omicron Subvariants BQ.1 And BQ.1.1


Omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 — dubbed “escape variants” for their immune evasiveness — now account for 49.7 percent of U.S. COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker weekly review published Nov. 18.

Ten findings:
  1. Based on projections for the week ending Nov. 19, the CDC estimates that BQ.1 accounts for 25.5 percent of cases, while BQ.1.1 accounts for 24.2 percent.
  2. 1 and BQ.1.1, which have been dubbed “escape variants” because of their evasiveness to some COVID-19 treatments, surpassed BA.5 to become the nation’s dominant strain. Accounting for 24 percent of cases, BA.5 is slightly behind BQ.1. BF.7, another omicron subvariant experts are closely monitoring, slimmed down from 8.2 percent to 7.8 percent of cases. Other omicron subvariants, each hovering between 0 percent and 5 percent, make up the rest.
  1. As of Nov. 16, the nation’s seven-day case average was 40,102, a 3.2 percent decrease from the previous week’s average.
  1. The seven-day hospitalization average for Nov. 9 to Nov. 15 was 3,308, a 4.4 percent decrease from the previous week’s average. From July through September, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations for infants 6 months and younger fell, but that trend reversed in October with a small uptick.
Community levels
  1. As of Nov. 17, 2.8 percent of counties, districts or territories had high COVID-19 community levels, 16.7 percent had medium community levels and 80.4 percent had low community levels.
  1. The current seven-day death average is 317, down 5.3 percent from the previous week’s average, which were 335. Some historical deaths have been excluded from these counts, the CDC said.
  1. As of Nov. 16, about 267.5 million people — 80.6 percent of the U.S. population — have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and about 228.2 million people, or 68.7 percent of the population, have received both doses.
  2. About 113.9 million people have received a booster dose, and more than 35.4 million people have received an updated omicron booster. However, 48.7 percent of people eligible for a booster dose have not yet gotten one, the CDC said.
Wastewater Surveillance
  1. About 48 percent of the U.S. is reporting moderate to high virus levels in wastewater. Of these surveillance sites, 17 percent are seeing some of the highest levels since Dec. 1, 2021.
  2. About 50 percent of sites are reporting an increase in virus levels, and 44 percent of sites are seeing a decrease.

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