老澳门六合彩图库

CDC says covid likely on the rise Arkansas

FILE - This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19. If you've been sick with COVID-19, you may have some protection against certain versions of the common cold. A study published Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggests previous COVID-19 infections lower the risk of getting colds caused by milder coronavirus cousins, which could provide a key to broader COVID-19 vaccines. (Hannah A. Bullock, Azaibi Tamin/CDC via AP, File)
FILE - This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19. If you've been sick with COVID-19, you may have some protection against certain versions of the common cold. A study published Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggests previous COVID-19 infections lower the risk of getting colds caused by milder coronavirus cousins, which could provide a key to broader COVID-19 vaccines. (Hannah A. Bullock, Azaibi Tamin/CDC via AP, File)

With each variant of covid-19 becoming increasingly transmissible, experts predict Arkansas will see a summer spike in cases, although they say the risk of severe illness resulting in hospitalization or death remains low for most people.

"At this point, we've got relatively low rates [of hospitalizations] compared to where we've been through other times of the pandemic, so we can be hopeful, but I would encourage along with being hopeful for us to be prepared," Dr. Robert Hopkins, director of the internal medicine division at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, said.

Hopkins said he's seen a slight uptick in cases over the past few weeks, but the numbers are nowhere near the increase the state saw during the winter.

Based on data from emergency room visits, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated covid-19 infections were growing or likely growing in at least 34 states as of Tuesday.

That included Arkansas, where the spread of the virus was listed as likely growing.

According to the CDC, the most common covid-19 strain until recently was KP.2.

During the week ending June 8, it was overtaken by KP.3, which accounted for an estimated 25% of infections, compared to 22.5% caused by KP.2.

Both are among a group of variants referred to as FLiRT. According to an article in the Scientific American, the name is an acronym for amino acids involved in mutations on the variants' spike protein.

Dr. Marti Sharkey, a CDC consultant and the former public health officer in Fayetteville, said KP.3 is similar to variants that have emerged over the past few summers.

"What we're seeing with this variant is what we kind of see with every new variant, it is a little less severe illness and otherwise healthy individuals, but is more contagious," Sharkey said.

She said that she is not anticipating a very large spike and the state will continue to see case numbers that it has been for the past few weeks.

"We're seeing low levels of of covid in the community with, depending on the day, a handful of hospitalizations and, unfortunately some continued death, but we don't expect an uptick in any of that for the for the course of the summer and the fall," Sharkey said.

Anne Pace, owner and pharmacist at Kavanaugh Pharmacy in Little Rock, said she has noticed an increase in the sale of at-home covid test kits over the past two weeks.

"I can definitely tell covid is on the rise just from seeing increased sales in covid tests," she said. "We have also been getting lots of calls from patients that have tested positive, usually from an at-home test and are having symptoms."

Dr. Meghan Repp, pediatrician at Central Arkansas Pediatric clinic in Benton, said over the past week, her clinic has confirmed around 10 cases, and symptoms have been similar to those of past variants.

"Generally kind of mild flu like symptoms," Repp said. "Most of them will have some headaches and nasal congestion, sore muscles and some of them will have some nausea and vomiting."

Many infections likely go unconfirmed, she said.

"Now that the guidelines are a lot less strict for quarantining and staying away from others, a lot of parents are not seeing the value of necessarily getting their kids tested," Repp said. "So there is a little bit of testing fatigue there. There are kids where I suspect they probably had covid or even had a known exposure and just weren't tested."

Although updated vaccines are expected to become available this fall, Repp said her clinic has not had high demand for the vaccines that are available now.

"Not many parents at all are requesting covid vaccines for their children," Repp said. "So we still keep covid vaccines in stock, but we've had trouble with vaccines expiring before patients request them."

Last year, Arkansas saw a total of 204 hospitalizations from covid-19 and 37 deaths during all of May, according to data from the state Department of Health's website. This May, there were 81 hospitalizations reported and no deaths listed.

Hopkins said the risk of severe illness is higher for those who are 65 or older or not up to date on their vaccines.

"Unfortunately less than 20% of our population in Arkansas received the recent booster," he said, referring to updated vaccines that released last year.

My Ly is a Report for America Corps member.

Upcoming Events