Rise in COVID Cases and Hospitalizations Due to FLiRT Variant


COVID19 cases and hospitalizations are escalating in Los Angeles County as summer travel begins. The new FLiRT variants cause a range of symptoms, with some individuals experiencing severe infections.

Increase in Cases and Hospitalizations

The number of COVID19 cases and admissions in Los Angeles County has greatly risen, exceeding last year’s numbers for same period. Yet, these figures are still less than the peak levels of summer 2023. Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at UC Francisco, explains that each infection can be different, with some patients seeing more intense symptoms.

FLiRT Variants and Symptoms

The new FLiRT COVID variants have resulted in diverse symptoms. Reports on platforms like Reddit reveal people suffering their worst bouts yet with severe congestion, sinus pressure, headaches, extreme fatigue, painful throats and intense body pains.

Insights from Infectious Disease Experts

Dr. Chin-Hong relates each COVID infection to playing “COVID roulette” due to wide variations in symptom severity. He notes that reinfections can be worse for some people making it difficult to measure severity compared to previous infections.

National Increase and Public Health Worries

39 states are seeing an uptick in COVID19 infections primarily because of the FLiRT variants. Medical epidemiologist Dr. David A Schwartz warns that factors such as low vaccine uptake, immunity decline, increased travelling and indoor gatherings may influence this summer surge. He points out existing vaccines or earlier immunity may not provide substantial protection.

Protection Strategies and Vaccines

To limit virus spread health experts suggest actions including frequent hand washing wearing masks in crowded areas isolating when having symptoms and regular testing.

Epidemics epidemiologist Dr. Ashley L. Drews from Houston Methodist mentioned that the surge is happening sooner compared to past years due to a fall 2023 drop in updated COVID vaccine uptake which resulted in lower immunity and increased casing.

Watch Out for These Symptoms

The current surge has brought sore throats as the most common symptom, often with body pains, chills, congestion, coughing, fatigue and fever. Loss of taste and smell are now rare. Despite these symptoms illness severity has remained consistent hospitalizations or deaths are not significantly higher than previous times.

Updated Vaccination Advice

Experts highlight the need for updated COVID vaccinations particularly for at-risk groups like elderly individuals or those with compromised immune systems. Dr. Shirin Mazumder from Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare suggests people who have not received a booster since last fall should deliberate getting vaccinated to lessen severe disease risk. The updated 2023-24 vaccine gives around 54 percent more protection against symptomatic illness.

Situation in Los Angeles County

The daily average of reported cases and hospitalizations has clearly risen, On June 30, there were averagely 229 cases per day (rising from 106 a month prior) On June 29, there were averagely 197 hospitalized per day (scaling up from 117 a month prior). The numbers may be understated as they don’t encompass at home tests or unreported cases. Last summer saw peaks reach of up to 571 cases per day by late August and 620 hospitalized by early September.

Community Reaction

Rising cases are leading many to revisit protective measures. Dr. Thomas Russo from the University at Buffalo adds that summer heat leading to increased indoor gatherings contributes to the surge. He and fellow experts advise additional safeguards for the vulnerable group such as wearing masks and avoiding large congregations.

Prospects for the Future

The CDC will suggest that everyone, six months and older, should get the updated 2024-25 vaccine in the fall. October is deemed a good time to avail vaccination for protection during winter.

End Note

Spike in COVID19 cases and hospitalizations in Los Angele sand across United States necessitate vigilance and up-to-date vaccinations. The new FLiRT variants pose difficulties but adhering to protective measures and vaccinations can help manage virus impact.


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