In recent months, the United Kingdom has witnessed an uptick in Covid cases, and experts attribute this increase to the emergence of a new strain, Pirola BA.2.86. This variant, originating from Omicron BA.2, was first identified in Denmark in July of this year and swiftly became the predominant strain in the UK.
According to the most recent government data, there were 12,123 new Covid cases reported in England during the week ending October 14.
Currently, Great Yarmouth is recognized as the Covid hotspot in England and Wales, with a rate of 54.4 new cases per 100,000 people. Chesterfield follows with a rate of 49.6 cases per 100,000, and Scarborough with 45.1 cases per 100,000, trailed by the Isle of Wight (44.3) and Fylde (43.1).
Meanwhile, in the United States, a new sub-variant of Omicron, known as HV.1, has become the most prevalent strain, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Professor Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, cautioned that the latest mutation of Covid is highly transmissible. He stated, “My general sense is that the Omicron progeny – the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Omicron – are, in general, pretty darn transmissible.” He also noted the potential for a surge in hospitalizations in the United States.
Additionally, a new variant, JN.1, has recently been identified in the UK, US, Iceland, Portugal, and Spain, according to the CDC. This strain is a descendant of the Pirola variant and has been characterized as exhibiting significantly greater immune evasion than its predecessors.
By KATRINA TURRILL