WHO officials: new Covid variant is a variant of interest
The World Health Organization has called the Coronavirus variant E-G-5 a variant of interest.
An off shoot of the Omicron variant, it is the cause of a growing number of cases in the U.S.
"It seems that it may have increased transmissibility but it does not seem to be posing more of a threat to public health than other variants," says Dr. Adi Shah, infectious diseases specialist at the Mayo Clinic.
As of now, E-G-5 has been detected in 51 countries, with cases doubling over the last month.
About a third of reported cases are in China, followed by the U.S.
Health officials say although ER visits and hospitalizations due to Covid are on the rise in the U.S., it is not clear if this strain is the reason why.
They believe record heat causing people to stay indoors along with summer travel may be causing an uptick in cases.
Dr. Shah says the updated Covid booster expected to be out next month will help.
"The booster is targeted against XBB, which is the strain of the Omicron family that EG.5 is related to or comes from, so potentially it should protect against EG.5 as well," says Shah.
Meanwhile, new data shows that 23 million people in the U.S. are dealing with symptoms of long Covid.
This includes respiratory, neurological, and cardiovascular issues that for some have gone on for months and or years.
The most common impact of long Covid is extreme fatigue.
However, the number of people diagnosed with long Covid has decreased by seven and half percent in the past year.