Omicron 5 cases surge, here’s what will happen in the summer. In Portugal, the sixth wave of Covid-19 continues, driven by the sub-variant BA.5. Meanwhile in Italy in the last week, if the percentage of reinfections has decreased (from 6.5% to 5.9%), the number of asymptomatic cases has increased. This was reported by the Higher Institute of Health (Iss).
The alarm for the presence of Omicron 5 was launched in mid-May by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Ecdc), when BA.5 officially became part of the variants of concern (Voc, Variant of Concern), with the other “sisters” BA.4, BA.2 and BA.1.
According to the infectious disease specialist Massimo Gallithe surge in Omicron 5 cases in Portugal is a sign that «the virus continues to circulate and the pandemic is not over». So what will happen in the summer without restrictions? Here’s what the experts say.
Omicron 5, the situation in Italy
Omicron 5 has traced the epidemiological curve from Covid-19 to Portugal. According to data from the American University of Johns Hopkins, infections from Covid-19 in the country have gone from over 11,000 recorded at the beginning of April to about 28,000. On the other hand, deaths are falling, from a weekly average of 46 to the current one of 38.
At the end of May, the presence of BA.5 was also detected in our country by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, with a number of sequences equal to 0.41% of the total ones of the SarsCoV2 virus detected. The infectious disease specialist Massimo Galli states that the surge in cases from Omicron 5 in Portugal is a sign of the circulation of the virus and adds: “It is a fact that in southern Africa there are almost perfect conditions for new variants to develop, which are randomly selected and, if they have a way to gain the upper hand, they do so, just like BA.5. On this, we have no elements that tell us that it is able to evade vaccines and thus cause a severe form of the disease, but the evidence suggests that it can cause infection.».
In an interview with Sky Tg24, the director of the Higher Health Council Franco Locatelli adds: “Covid-19 is under control, but it is not to be underestimated. The pandemic is not over although we are moving towards a phase of virus endemicity».
Omicron 5, here’s what will happen in the summer
In an interview with beraking latest news, the virologist Mauro PistelloDirector of the Virology Unit of the University Hospital of Pisa and Vice President of the Italian Society of Microbiology, reassures: “The increase in Covid-19 cases recorded in Portugal and Germany for the emergence of the Omicron 5 sub-variant shouldn’t scare us, it won’t ruin our summer».
And keeps going: “We have a very high slice of the population vaccinated with three doses, the heat then physiologically helps because the ultraviolet radiation makes the virus suffer, which persists less in open environments. In the autumn it is clear that the virus will be able to return to its charge and for this reason we need to be prepared especially with new vaccines updated to the latest variants.».
Pistello also talks about the possible risks associated with the sub-variant BA.5: “Omicron 5 follows all the others that have already presented themselves, initially they seem to cause damage, but then it doesn’t. Around 12-13 June we will have the new data from the survey on the variants in circulation in Italy and we will know better how widespread Omicron 4 and 5 have spread.».
Of the same opinion as Pistello, the infectious disease specialist Matteo Bassettidirector of the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the San Martino Polyclinic in Genoa: “Io I don’t think Omicron 5 will compromise the summer. It is clear that the super circulation that will take place in Europe in the summer will bring us to have in the next autumn Omicron 4 e 5 that they will be predominant and therefore we will all have to hope that the results that will arrive in a few weeks on vaccines oriented to these variants will work. These new Omicron variants respond somewhat less to current vaccines. But we can live with it».