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U.S. Should Share COVID Information with the World

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2023-02-02 09:48:21 | Author: TANG Zhexiao

A sign is placed near the section for children's medicine after the wave of COVID-19, influenza, and RSV infections wreaking havoc on the nation, New York, United States,Dec.19, 2022. (PHOTO: VCG)

Edited by TANG Zhexiao

According to the statistics of the Global Influenza Shared Database (GISAID), a global online health database established in 2008, most variants of the COVID virus have been prevalent in the U.S. in the past three years.

Currently, the fast-spreading Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 is estimated to account for 61.3 percent of the COVID-19 cases in the U.S. in the week ended January 28, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.

XBB.1.5 is a sub-variant of the Omicron strain, which the UN health agency calls" the most transmissible subvariant detected yet."

First detected in the U.S. in October 2022, it has been circulating in at least 74 countries and regions to date, said outbreak.info, a platform to discover and explore COVID-19 data and variants.

XBB.1.5 can evade the body's immune system. "Kraken variant [XBB 1.5] has an additional mutation. It binds more easily to other cells," said Andrew Pekosz, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University.

Where did XBB.1.5 first appear? How could it spread so fast? Has the U.S. government taken reponse measures?

Besides these questions, a lack of transparency on COVID information and the country's issue of revising data have become a concern for the global community.

Data published on December 30, 2022 by CDC said that XBB.1.5 represented about 41 percent of new cases nationally in the U.S., nearly doubling in prevalence.

However, according to the U.S. Consumer News and Business Channel's report on January 6, revised CDC data has shown slower increases than previously reported, saying that XBB.1.5 made up 27.6 percent of sequenced COVID cases nationally for the week ending January 7, compared with 18.3 percent for the week ending December 31.

At-home tests means some are not reported through public health or are not testing at all, meaning the official case count may underestimate the actual prevalence.

The COVID States Project is a national 50-state survey of opinions related to the COVID-19 pandemic since March of 2020. It is run by a multi-university collaboration effort, including Harvard Kennedy School and Northwestern University.

Its core findings in its latest 96th report said many self-tests are going unreported, "The official data is currently missing about 48 percent of known COVID cases from the last three months."

Considering the new variant XBB.1.5 spreading rapidly worldwide, the U.S. should share its domestic COVID situation challenges, as well as virus data timely and transparently with the WHO and the global community, and so actively responding to global concerns. This is not only responsible to the American people, but also helps the international community find an effective response to prevent the further spread of the virus worldwide.

Editor: 湯哲梟

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