By Marsha Mullings, MPH
Cases: 74 million
Cases: 5.5 million
*Scientists have announced the discovery of a subvariant of Omicron. This subvariant (BA.2) has been designated “Stealth.” This subvariant is reportedly 1.5 times more transmissible than the Omicron variant. There is no evidence currently that Stealth causes more severe disease or can evade the vaccines.
*New coronavirus cases are declining rapidly across the country. The daily average is now 520,000 new infections per day, down from 700,000 new infections per day, last week.
*New cases are declining but deaths are still increasing. There is an average of 2,500 new deaths per day, a 28% increase over last week. Deaths are a lagging indicator and may continue to rise over the next few weeks, as some individuals who had been ill, succumb to their illness.
*Florida is averaging 28,000 new coronavirus cases each day, a 52% decline since last week.
All State-supported Mono-clonal Antibody treatment sites in Florida are closed until further notice.
On January 24, 2022, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Monoclonal Antibody Therapy treatments within the US. The treatments are no longer authorized for use in any US state, territory, or jurisdiction at this time. As a result, all treatment sites in Florida are now closed. Individuals requiring treatment for COVID-19 should check with their healthcare provider for advice about the best course of treatment for their illness.
Free at-home Rapid COVD-19 Tests
Free at-home rapid coronavirus tests are now available to the public. Individuals may go to www.covidtests.gov or call 1-800-232-0233 to request their rapid tests.
Free N-95 Masks Available to the Public
The federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile has distributed 400 million N-95 masks to pharmacy distribution centers around the country. Individuals who would like masks may request up to three masks from their participating pharmacy. Please check local pharmacies to see if they are a local distribution center.
Omicron is an extremely transmissible variant of the coronavirus. Vigilance is critical to reducing the chance of acquiring an infection. Practice good COVID-19 control strategies:
*Observe social distancing guidelines (6 feet or more of separation from others).
*Practice good hand hygiene (wash hands frequently with soap and warm water or use hand sanitizers)
*Wear a mask when out in public if you are unvaccinated.
For more information on coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention, visit www.FloridaHealth.org; nyt.com; www.coronavirus.jhu.edu; www.cdc.gov;