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State set to release weekly COVID-19 numbers as cases rise in Boston area – Boston 25 News

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BOSTON — COVID-19 cases are slowly creeping up again. This comes as the state gets ready to release its latest weekly numbers today.

With more testing kits at home, more people are likely testing and then not reporting their results. But the wastewater samples collected can predict even before a surge is set to start.

The wastewater tracker shows that the sewage samples south of Boston jumped 29% in the last two weeks. North of Boston, there’s been a 28% increase in the same time frame. According to the CDC’s variant tracker, the BA.5 variant is now responsible for nearly 60% of new cases in New England. White house officials say this variant is more transmissible and can better escape immunity.

“What we’re seeing right now is that people who got infected 3 months ago are getting reinfected,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Covid Response Coordinator. “People who are up to date on their vaccinations are getting breakthrough infections at very, very high rates. We’re not seeing that yet, that this is somehow causing more serious ailments yet. That’s a place where we have to go and get more data.”

The FDA just authorized emergency use of a fourth kind of COVID vaccine from Novovax. It’s unlike the three other vaccines because it uses protein fragments to teach the body how to fight COVID.

“The virus continues to evolve very quickly,” said Dr. Jha. “We have to constantly be updating our response. The vaccine that we are going to have in the fall will be a substantial upgrade, but we’ll see how it closely matches what is circulating at that moment.”

Right now, only people over 50 or who are immunocompromised can get a second booster. The FDA is weighing whether it should expand that eligibility.

And why a surge in the summer when it typically goes down? Officials believe part of the reason is an increase in travel and the fact that masks are no longer required in airports and in planes.

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