Advocacy Alert

Urge Your Lawmakers to Support Essential Health System Designation

COVID-19: EG.5 Variant, Long COVID Response

Andrea Lugo
August 15, 2023

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on July 31 the formation of the Office of Long COVID Research and Practice, which will coordinate the federal government’s response to long COVID, a prolonged illness that develops after COVID-19.

The office also seeks to establish, support, and manage a Federal Advisory Committee on Long COVID and associated conditions to inform federal actions through outside perspectives.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Aug. 11 that the percentage of Americans with long COVID-19 fell to 6 percent in June 2023, compared with 7.5 percent in June 2022.

However, the study identified that after an initial decline, long COVID-19 prevalence remained unchanged during the year-long period.

The decline during the study period may reflect decreasing prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, changes in the severity of acute infection, interventions offered during acute infection, vaccination coverage, or other factors.

New Variant of Interest

The World Health Organization identified EG.5, the newest circulating subvariant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as a variant of interest that may cause a rise in case incidence and become dominant. EG.5 is a descendant of the omicron XBB subvariant, and currently makes up 17.3 percent of national COVID-19 cases. The United States has seen a 14.3 percent increase in hospitalizations and 10 percent increase in deaths related to COVID-19 in the last week.

However, evidence does not suggest that EG.5 has additional public health risks relative to the other currently circulating omicron descendent lineages.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Director of Policy Rob Nelb, MPH, at rnelb@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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