By Deborah Bailey,
AFRO D.C. Editor
Washington D.C. has experienced a slight increase in Covid-19 rates as the new BA.2 strain takes hold in the District. At the beginning of April, the Covid-19 threat level increased to medium, the first time the threat level increased from a ranking of low since January.
BA.2 now accounts for nearly 86 percent of U.S. coronavirus cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. More than half of US States are currently experiencing a rise in Covid-19 rates as a result of the new BA.2 strain.
Although individual cases of the BA.2 strain are rising, the rate of hospitalizations and death is not increasing as it did when the original Omicron variant surged in the United States in December 2021 and early 2022.
An average of 222 cases per day have been reported representing more than a 117 percent increase from March. But hospitalization rates have fallen and death rates remain static. An estimated 1 in 6 District residents have been infected with Covid-19 since the pandemic started according to the CDC. Close to 70 District residents are fully vaccinated according to the CDC.
In a recent interview, DC Director of Public Health, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said she didn’t see the need for new guidance regarding masking for DC residents in spite of the slight uptick in cases.
“Right now, we don’t have any indication that people in the District of Columbia are experiencing more severe illness along with that increased weekly case rate,” Nesbitt said.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that she tested positive for Covid-19 on April 7 after experiencing “cold-like” symptoms. Bowser reported she will be working at home and self-isolating. Bowser’s older sister, Mercia died of COVID-19 complications in February 2021.
Philadelphia has reinstated an indoor mask mandate Monday in response to a rise in Covid-19 cases. The total caseload in Philadelphia has risen more than 50 percent prior to April 11, when public health officials called for a return to indoor masking for the City of Brotherly Love.
More than 988,000 people in the US have died after contracting Covid-19 including 2000 in the past week. Worldwide, there are 503 million confirmed cases of the disease including 5 million new cases in the past week. More than 6.1 million have died from the virus worldwide.
Close to 66 percent of the US population, approximately 218 million, are fully vaccinated as of April 15 and 99 million have received a booster shot according to the CDC.
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