What You Need to Know-Week of February 28th

The most important weekly updates for you to keep your community healthy




In this Update:

1. Urgent Updates: COVID-19 Metrics

2. Quick Question: What is the BA.2 Variant?

3. Information You Need: Monoclonal antibody treatments against Omicron




1. Urgent Updates: COVID-19 Metrics


Updated as of: 02-28-2022

Weekly case, death, and hospitalization counts:

In the past week, there has been an average of:
Cases per day1,604
Deaths per day47
Compared to two weeks ago:
Cases per dayDecreased by 63%↘
Deaths per day Decreased by 31%↘
Hospitalizations per day Decreased by 46% ↘

For a breakdown of vaccination by Arizona counties, visit the CDC’s website.

For updated vaccine information and data in Arizona, visit this link and click on the “Vaccine Administration” icon.



2. Quick Question: What is the BA.2 Variant?


The Omicron variant, also known as the BA.1 variant, is the highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 strain that is currently the cause for 99% of COVID-19 cases. A variant similar to Omicron — called the BA.2 variant, or Omicron sub-variant — has now been documented in nearly 60 countries and across most of the United States. Just like Omicron, the BA.2 variant had a notable number of mutations within the spike protein. The BA.2 version appears to be 30% more transmissible compared to the already highly contagious original Omicron variant. Early data are showing that vaccines are just as effective against the original Omicron compared to the newer variant, which does mean that they are very successful at preventing severe COVID-19 and death. However, similar to Omicron, booster doses appear to be even better at preventing symptomatic disease. 
Experts are saying not to panic: viruses are expected to mutate as they spread. But the more immunity there is against COVID-19, the less these viruses will mutate. More research is needed on this variant. At this time it is not possible to tell whether the variant causes more severe disease than the original Omicron.


3. Information You Need: Monoclonal antibody treatments against Omicron


Evidence is showing that monoclonal antibody therapies are highly ineffective against the Omicron variant. Thus, the FDA has now limited these treatments only to patients who become infected with variants that are shown to be treatable with the antibody therapies. With Omicron continuing to be the primary strain throughout the U.S., it is unlikely that these treatments will be utilized at this time. However, if a certain area experiences a surge in a variant that is susceptible to this treatment, or other variants arise that are treatable using the therapies, then the guidance for use will change to reflect this.

Fortunately, other therapies exist that are shown to be effective against Omicron, including Remdesivir, Paxlovid, etc. These treatments are given to individuals with COVID-19 who are at high risk for progressing to severe disease. 

For more information, visit this website.




If you would like to learn more about this and other topics related to COVID-19 in Arizona, please complete next week’s AZCOVIDTXT survey that you will receive via text in about a week.

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