Covid-19’s BA.5 Omicron subvariant is responsible for the majority of incidences up until recently. BQ.1 and BQ 1.1, both from the Omicron family, had already taken their position. In Texas, at least 60% of cases involve these unusual subvariants. According to Dr. Luis Ostrosky, director of infectious diseases at Memorial Hermann and UTHealth Houston said, the answer lies in evolution. “We have continuously observed variations that are more infectious and successful at spreading than others developing during the pandemic. This applies to BQ.1 and BQ 1.1.”
He observes that some countries serve as leading indicators of future events. The next highly dangerous variation is BF 7, which is widespread in China. New variations have also come out of South Africa and the UK.
While Ostrosky says wastewater testing in the Houston region reveals an increase in infections, we may hear less about Covid in the media. “We are not finished. We must remain alert.” The Omicron lineage is shared by all of these sub-variants, which is a bright spot. And according to Dr. Ostrosky, the new bivalent vaccine provides excellent protection. The issue is that not enough Texans have chosen to get the shots. Unvaccinated people have a 13-times increased risk of testing positive for COVID and a 21-times increased risk of dying from the virus.