Once again, the Bluegrass State finds itself in the grip of a massive spread of Covid-19. This time it's variant BA.5, a subvariant of Omicron. According to the CDC, this is the most transmissible variant of the Coronavirus to date. It appears to be able to infect people who've had the virus recently but is much less likely to lead to hospitalization or death than previous variants.
All of Kentucky’s 120 counties are in the medium to high category of community spread. Two-thirds of the state is at high risk for transmission of the disease.
All of the same rules apply for this variant as for all the others:
- Get vaccinated. Although it doesn’t prevent you from getting the illness, it has been shown, even with BA.5, to reduce the severity of the disease.
- Social distancing
- Hand washing
- Self-isolation. If you feel ill, take a COVID test and isolate yourself so as not to infect others.
- Wear a mask. BA.5, like all variants of COVID-19, is airborne and can be transmitted through airborne bodily fluids.
New research raises concerns about severe, long-term problems.
According to the University of California-Davis, repeated exposure to COVID-19 leads to increased risk for stroke, heart attack, diabetes, digestive disorders, and even dementia.
While this information is the first of many long-term studies of this disease, it does raise concerns.
As if that wasn’t bad enough
The Commonwealth has had 8 cases of monkeypox, a rare disease similar to, but not as deadly as, smallpox.
Monkeypox causes pustules on the skin, similar to chickenpox. Those who've contracted it say it's extremely painful. It can be passed through person-to-person contact or contact with materials that have touched an infected person. The disease lasts 2-4 weeks.
New York City, New York State, and Illinois have declared states of emergency because of the disease. NYC has had 1200 cases of monkeypox, about ¼ of all the cases in the US. California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and Georgia are among the states with the most cases of the disease.
There is an effective vaccine against the disease that has been around and tested for years, but supplies are low. The disease rarely spreads this far around the world, normally only affecting nations in sub-Saharan Africa on any scale.
Experts say that if you develop an unexpected or unexplained rash, see your healthcare provider immediately and avoid contact with anyone. The illness is also accompanied by fever, headache, muscle and back aches, chills, exhaustion, and painful, pus-filled bumps or sores all over the body and in the mouth.
Monkeypox, according to the World Health Organization, has a historic fatality rate of 3-6%. This is much higher than the earlier COVID-19 variants and much higher than the BA.5 variant.
Staff Report from The Kentucky Daily