coronavirus variants FLiRT Alert!

FLiRT Alert! UCSF Doctor Explains New COVID Variant Concern

A new set of coronavirus variants, dubbed FLiRT (short for KP.2 lineage), is raising concerns among health officials about a potential rise in COVID-19 cases this summer. Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a UCSF infectious disease specialist, recently addressed these concerns in a news interview.

The quick growth of FLIRT is especially remarkable. In late March, IAF only took the part of less than 5% of COVID-19 cases. By the mid-May, that number increased to over 28%, which demonstrated a scary growth. This rapid rise in the count leads to the conclusion that FLiRT is probably going to be the leading one by the end of summer.

Although the current number of COVID-19 cases is low, Dr. Chin-Hong alerts of a possible “summer wave,” however, not as severe as the previous ones. He explains it as a “swell” at the seashore, instead of a roaring wave.

The situation is really worrying, not only because of the commonness of FLiRT, but also because of the chance of it being the cause of more breakthrough infections. The emergence of the new variants of coronavirus in vaccinated persons is the cause of breakthrough infections, and some experts are afraid that the FLiRT’s mutations might make the current vaccines to escape some level of the new variants.

Dr. Chin-Hong gives stress on the fact that vaccines are still working to prevent the serious illness, the hospitalization and the death from COVID-19. He strongly advises to keep yourself up-to-date with the vaccinations and boosters according to the CDC which is a great way to prevent the most severe case of COVID-19 in case, you get a breakthrough infection.

person getting a COVID19 vaccination

The interview also addressed the difficulty in diagnosing FLiRT. Because it might not cause distinct symptoms, some cases might be mistaken for the common flu, especially with the low overall COVID-19 prevalence right now. This could lead to underreported cases and potentially contribute to the spread.

Dr. Chin-Hong advises maintaining vigilance with standard COVID-19 precautions like handwashing, staying home when sick, and getting tested if symptoms arise. These measures can help control the spread of FLiRT and other variants.

Here's a quick recap of the key points:

  • A new COVID-19 variant cluster, FLiRT, is showing a rapid rise in cases.
  • FLiRT might become the dominant variant by summer.
  • There’s concern about potential breakthrough infections with FLiRT.
  • Vaccines and boosters remain highly effective in preventing serious illness.
  • Standard COVID-19 precautions are still important to control the spread.

Staying informed about FLiRT and following public health recommendations can help us navigate this potential summer wave and protect ourselves and our communities.

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