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Blacks should be prepared for newest COVID-19 variant


African Americans take note - don’t stop wearing that mask around work and shopping centers just yet.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new warning last week about the latest coronavirus omicron subvariant that is quickly growing across the nation.

It’s officially called BA.2.12.1, an offshoot of the BA.2 omicron variant, and it accounts for approximately one in five new coronavirus cases across the country. Seventy-five percent of new cases are BA.2, say researchers.

What makes BA.2.12.1 notable is that it is more transmissible than BA.2, which doctors have already deemed even more transmissible that the original coronavirus.

Thus far, there is not enough evidence to show BA.2.12.1 causes a more severe disease, or more hospitalizations, but that could change as cases rise.

Experts say expect more COVID-19 variants to mutate in the near future, and caution that the best defense, even if you are fully vaccinated, is to continue to wear protective face masks in enclosed areas outside of the home around unfamiliar people to help cut down on transmission.

It has been established that even fully vaccinated people can still contract COVID, but many are able to avoid the severe effects.

Still, a lot depends on a person’s initial health condition. For many, because of their age or condition due to diabetes or weakened immune system, doctors strongly recommend a second booster shot, which should be available from their primary doctor or local health clinic.

All of this flies in the face of a recent ruling by a federal District judge mandating that masks are no longer required for air travel.

The CDC was blunt in its response to the ruling.

“The Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disagree with the district court’s decision and will appeal, subject to CDC’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health,” a spokesperson said. “The Department continues to believe that the order requiring masking in the transportation corridor is a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health. That is an important authority the department will continue to work to preserve.”

Within the past two years since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States, African Americans have proven to be twice as likely to contract the coronavirus, and twice as likely to die from it because of prior poor health conditions.