Will Humble talks about rising COVID and RSV cases

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COVID and RSV cases and hospitalizations are on the rise. Will Humble, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association came and spoke about the importance of getting the bivalent booster and wearing a mask in crowded places.

Only about 11% of Arizonans have gotten the new bivalent booster, which is really disappointing, Humble said.

“The national average is about 12 or 13%, so we’re kind of at the national average, but there are states right up there that have more than half of their population with the bivalent booster,” Humble said.

There is a well established pattern for peaks in COVID cases, since people can predict what’s going to happen with it, according to Humble.

“We’re on a six month cycle, so we had our last surge of hospitalizations over the summer. Six months later, here we are again, it’s on the upswing. In fact, right now, we’re right about where we were in July during that wave of COVID in terms of hospitalizations, both in patient regular beds and ICU,” Humble said.

These cases are Omicron and Omicron variants, Humble said. The latest booster shot focuses on these sub-variants.

Humble encourages wearing masks, specifically in crowded areas, and “especially if you have a chronic medical condition that puts you at higher risk or if you’re an older adult who might be at higher risk. But if you’re going to wear a mask, make sure it’s a good one. Just a regular, simple loose fitting mask is not what you need. You need a good, tight-fitting N95 or N94 to protect you because no one else is going to be wearing a mask. You know what it’s like, very few people are wearing masks. So it’s really about individual protection,” Humble said.

Concerning RSV, younger children are especially at risk with antibodies that do not last very long. Influenza is also on the rise and there is an upswing in cases.

All three of these are hitting the population at the same time, which is why it is essential to get vaccines this year, Humble said.

“It can be hard to tell the different between all of them, honestly,” Humble said.

Will Humble, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association

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