Covid cases on the rise, should we be worried?
Aug 18, 2023, 9:02 PM
SALT LAKE CITY — COVID-19 cases are rising across the country, but there are no signs of another major wave.
Josh Benton, director of Covid Epidemiology for the state of Utah, said the state is keeping its eyes on a potential wave of new cases.
“Right now it’s not looking like we’re heading towards another big wave, but things can change,” Benton said. “So, keeping an eye on hospitalizations, emergency department visits (and) wastewater surveillance, things like that [are] how we kind of try to predict it.”
Currently, a new variation of Covid is going around. EG. 5, or the Eris variant, according to the New York Times, is a “variant of interest.” This means that Eris has genetic changes that give it an advantage when it comes to spreading. However, at this time, the New York Times reports it doesn’t pose any more of a threat than other Covid variants.
Benton said a new booster vaccine is being worked on to combat the Eris variant.
“That should be ready, hopefully, a little bit later this fall,” he said. “So, if you’re not current on your vaccinations, I would recommend getting fully vaccinated before they come out with the new formulation.”
He estimated this vaccine will come out some time after September.
How to prepare for Covid and other reparatory diseases
Along with this, Benton advised Utahns to remember and be cautious of illnesses other than Covid this upcoming cold/flu season.
“It’s also important to think about flu and RSV and other reparatory diseases that are gonna be circulating out there,” he said. “We had high numbers of other reparatory diseases last winter and last fall, which we hadn’t seen since the start of the pandemic.”
Benton continued, saying generally the same precautions apply for Covid, the flu and RSV.
“If you’re feeling sick, it doesn’t matter if you test negative for Covid or you test positive,” he said. “You should stay away from other people. Where a mask if you have to be around anyone else (and) avoid large gatherings.”
These guidelines apply to all respiratory viruses, according to Benton.
Madison Peto contributed to this article.