Experts believe COVID-19 spike likely after 4th of July gatherings as BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants spread

By: Larissa Scott

Posted at 6:57 AM, Jul 05, 2022

and last updated 4:22 AM, Jul 05, 2022

Health experts believe many of the 4th of July gatherings from over the weekend will likely contribute to a rise in COVID-19 cases as highly contagious BA.4 and BA.4 omicron subvariants spread.

TAMPA — “Every holiday and every big event I get a little concerned,” said Dr. Jill Roberts, Associate Professor at the USF College of Public Health.

The 4th of July is no exception.

“What worries me with 4th of July is travel,” said Roberts.

Millions of people reportedly flew this past holiday weekend.

With COVID-19 restrictions now lifted at airports and on planes, doctors say the spread is pretty much guaranteed.

“I worry about new strains hopping on airplanes and flying around places,” said Roberts.

However, they’re not just concerned about virus spread from traveling, experts believe many of the 4th of July gatherings over the weekend will likely also contribute to a rise in cases.

“Unfortunately the cases are still out there,” said Roberts.

According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BA.4 and BA.5 now make up at least 52.3% of new reported COVID-19 cases.

Experts believe that number is likely much higher.

“Most people aren’t testing in a testing center. They’ve got tests at home and so a lot of those cases are not being reported at all,” said Roberts.

According to scientists, the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are the most contagious yet.

“Beware of symptoms of coronavirus. We all know what they are right now,” said Roberts.

With omicron and its subvariants, doctors are seeing more sore throats, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, fever and fatigue.

It’s important people know these symptoms because health officials believe we’ll likely see a significant rise in cases from those holiday gatherings.

“It’ll take a couple of weeks past the 4th of July before we see an official uptick in numbers,” said Roberts.

Doctors say there is some good news if cases do spike.

“Our hospitalizations should not carry on too high. They would increase but they should not carry on too high,” said Roberts.

By: Larissa Scott