That common mentality of pushing through sickness for work, paired with another Omicron subvariant could be the reason why we see a rise in COVID cases after cases bottomed out to nearly zero this summer.
“Somebody asked the other day, ‘Oh my gosh, why is COVID going up?’ But honestly the numbers were so low over the summer there was really nowhere for it to go but up,” UH Rainbow Babies and Children Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Amy Edwards said.
Edwards expects to see cases rise this cold and flu season, but that shouldn’t necessarily be alarming.
“We are still dealing with Omicron sub-variants, so there’s nothing new in the Greek alphabet,” she said.
Gov. DeWine’s office sent out a statement after he tested positive reading:
“The current strain of Covid-19 can present itself with symptoms much like a head cold. Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health advise testing yourself for Covid-19, even if you think you have only a minor cold.”
Edwards said at home testing kits can be unreliable and ineffective when testing for Omicron subvariants, especially if they are older like the free ones you may have received from the government.
“It is not unusual to have patients test negative on their home kit, but then to test positive on PCR or patients will say, oh, the first two days I tested negative on my home kit,” Edwards said. “It wasn’t till the third day when I tested, but a lot of people aren’t testing that aggressively two or three or four times.”
Dr. Edwards said getting new testing kits will help with that issue. The Government is also working to help provide those tests.
The Biden Administration announced Americans can apply for four free at-home testing kits per household, a $600 million cost. The window to order opens on Sept. 25 at COVIDtests.gov.
The tests will be delivered by the United State Postal Service.
Dr. Edwards said it’s good to see symptoms lightening up from a clinical standpoint, but from a transmission standpoint it is concerning. But she offers a simple and familiar reminder to help control the spread.
“If you’re not able to test for COVID and you’re feeling unwell, simply wear a mask,” she said. “It will reduce the risk that you will spread COVID to somebody else or spread whatever. I mean, I don’t want rhinovirus either. I don’t want any of your viruses, so you should wear a mask. It’s very easy.”
Edwards also recommends people consider getting the updated vaccine, as it is better matched to provide protection against Omicron strains.