The emergence of a new variant of COVID-19: Eris is a new threat in the UK and US

The UK and the US are facing the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus called Eris. The variant, also known as EG.5.1, is a subspecies of Omicron and has been added to the World Health Organization’s list of “variants under surveillance.” According to the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA), as of July 20, Eris accounted for 14.55% of all COVID-19 cases in the UK, with a weekly growth rate of 20.51%.

In the U.S., Eris was responsible for 17.3% of all COVID-19 cases from July 23 to Aug. 5 and was the most common variant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the emergence of new variants is not unusual, and there is currently no evidence that this strain is more dangerous than previous ones.

Nevertheless, the UK has seen an increase in cases, with hospitalizations reaching 1.97 per 100,000 population in the last week of July.

“We continue to see an increase in COVID-19 cases in our report this week. We have also noticed a slight increase in hospitalization rates in most age groups, especially among the elderly,” said Dr. Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunization at UKHSA.

“Overall hospitalization rates remain extremely low and we have not yet seen a similar increase in ICU admissions,” Ramsay added.

Currently, the main hotspots for the spread are South West England, as well as the counties of Surrey, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Darlington and Cumbria, The Independent reported.

The UKHSA will continue to monitor the situation, and in the interim, Ramsay recommends vaccination as the best defense against this and other COVID-19 variants.

“The NHS will contact people in the fall of 2023 when the seasonal vaccine will be available for those who are eligible due to health or age, and we encourage everyone who is offered the vaccine to take it,” Ramsay concluded.

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