Lambda, mu are COVID ‘variants of interest’ at this time

Coronavirus

Vaccine effective against all identified variants

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As new variants continue to evolve, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are keeping track of the threat each one poses.

The CDC puts variants into 3 categories: “variants of interest,” “variants of concern” and “variants of high consequence.” The WHO has “variants of interest” and “variants of concern” classifications, while also designating “alerts for further monitoring” for some variants. 

At the moment, the WHO recognizes the lambda and mu variants are of interest. However, the organization says they pale in comparison to the delta. Meanwhile, lambda and mu are hardly on the radar over at the CDC — which is not even requiring they be monitored.

The CDC currently views the delta variant as a variant of interest. Over at the WHO, it’s classified as a variant of concern. Overall, delta remains the dominant coronavirus variant that is driving infectivity.

“The evidence is really clear: We are at high rates of disease. We’re at high rates of hospitalization, especially if you’re unvaccinated,” said Washington State Epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist.

If you’re between the ages of 12-34, you’re 30 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 if you’re unvaccinated.

Death rates are slightly increasing. New data released by the CDC shows that while we just passed the worst point of transmissibility, hospitalizations and death from COVID, cases appear to have stabilized. Health officials are projecting a decline over the next few weeks.

Dr. Dean Sidelinger with the Oregon Health Authority said they’re not seeing the mu variant spread across the state.

“What we are seeing is the delta variant continues to dominate, with over 95% of the detections in recent weeks being from delta,” Sidelinger said.

Washington state health officials said they’re confident they would be among the first to know if there was another variant of concern. They noted it was because of the rapid genome sequencing that led them to find the first case of COVID in the United States in their state in February 2020.

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