In the last couple of weeks, the number of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations has been constantly on the rise, prompting new pandemic guidance, including wearing face masks in indoor places, for most of the counties across the country. The Times’ Covid-19 tracker shows a rising number of cases since late June, a trend that is expected to continue in the upcoming period. Currently, the 14-day average is 15% higher, showing 130,073 new cases on average per day.
BA.5 is the most common strain across the country in the recent weeks. BA.5 is an Omicron subvariant known to easily evade both natural and vaccine immunity. However, health experts and officials still claim that getting vaccinated is the best option we have for combating the virus. The rising number of hospitalizations, according to them, is due to the still low number of people vaccinated and boosted against the deadly virus.
Although nearly 79% of the Americans are now vaccinated with at least one dose against the virus, the vaccine immunity wanes over time, prompting those vaccinated to boost the immunity with a third, or even a fourth dose, needed for a powerful immune response if they get in touch with the virus. Right now, less than 50% of the American population has received at least one booster shot.
The North Texas region sticks to the same trend. Lately, the local health departments have reported a spike in cases and hospitalizations due to the virus. DCPHAC officials moved the Covid-19 threat risk twice since last week, from green to yellow, and then from yellow to orange, on the color-coded risk scale. Local residents are now highly recommended to wear face masks while indoors and avoid crowded places. This applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents.
The most recent wave driven by the highly infectious BA.5 Omicron subvariant has once again reminded everyone that we are far away from the end of the pandemic. A 26-year-old local resident, Shenerial Gipson, has felt on her own how dangerous it might be for pregnant women if they get infected with the virus during their pregnancies. Gipson, who initially decided not to get vaccinated against Covid-19, regrets her decision and has changed her mind over the vaccines.
Speaking to WFAA, Gipson said that she tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week and, at one point, she started ‘feeling as if her body suddenly began to shut down.’ The mother-to-be is seven months pregnant and a fever of 104 degrees was only one of all the other symptoms she experienced before she was hospitalized. Things escalated on Friday night when Gipson drove herself to the hospital emergency room after realizing that she had had no fetal movement for the whole day. When she arrived at the hospital, her baby’s heart rate rose to 194 bpm at one point.
“My baby wasn’t moving at all in my stomach, and I got worried,” Gipson told the station. “To not feel him for a whole 24 hours… no kick, no move, nothing… I was thinking the worst,” she added.
Fortunately, everything went well for the young woman and her unborn baby. Gipson said her child’s high heart rate nearly led her to go into early labor at 31 weeks of pregnancy. She was released from hospital on Saturday.
Describing her most recent experience as brutal, Gipson is now second-guessing her decision not to get vaccinated against Covid-19. In a Facebook post, she explained to her followers what she went through and added that she is about to take care of her health more seriously as she is continuing her recovery at home.