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Prepping for Evolving 2023-24 COVID-19 Virus

By Vishnu Chundi, MD

Potentially dangerous versions of the COVID-19 virus mean patients, physicians and healthcare workers should return to targeted masking and appropriate vaccination to keep patients and staff safe.

Since the public health emergency ended in May 2023, hospitals are no longer requiring patients, visitors or staff to wear masks, leaving patients with immunocompromising conditions due to underlying conditions or medical treatments vulnerable to severe COVID-19 infections and potentially adverse outcomes.

Below are some key points to consider for physicians, their patients and other healthcare workers as we enter the winter months when COVID-19 and seasonal influenza spread are at their most dangerous for the public.

Virus Evolution

The virus, which originated from Omicron, continues to evolve as expected. The most common variant in the U.S. is known as EG.5 and another one called FL.1.5.1. These have evolved from XBB. which the current vaccine is based upon. These may be tracked on CDC Nowcast https://covid.cdc. gov/covid-data-tracker/#variant-proportions. The current variants have increased transmissibility compared to prior variants but do not cause more severe disease.

Read more here.


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