‘Eris’ Covid-19 variant dominant in U.S.: symptoms, background, spread

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New variant does not currently prompt concern

Medical experts have said that EG.5 does not seem to cause more severe illness than previous strains of the coronavirus, and no figures from the White House or Capitol Hill have issued strong statements on the matter.

“At this time, there is no evidence indicating EG.5 is able to spread more easily, and currently available treatments and vaccines are expected to continue to be effective against this variant,” a CDC spokesperson told POLITICO.

The World Health Organization has begun tracking EG.5, but has not labeled it as a variant of interest or concern. In comparison, the XBB.1.5 strain, which previously dominated transmission in the U.S., is listed as a variant of interest.

Globally, hospitalizations from Covid have generally declined since the beginning of the year.

Although hospitalizations from the coronavirus have risen slightly over the summer in the U.S., the Biden administration has continued to express optimism about beating the pandemic. It has ended the public health emergency, and the White House Covid czar left earlier this summer.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has made historic progress on our nation’s ability to manage COVID-19 so that it no longer meaningfully disrupts the way we live our lives,” White House spokesperson Kelly Scully previously told POLITICO by email.

What are the symptoms of Eris?

The symptoms from the EG.5 variant are no different from previous variants: typical cold ailments such as sore throat, runny nose, congestion, cough and fever.

Does the public need a new Covid booster vaccine?

Since June, health officials and drug manufacturers have worked toward the development of shots that should also address the EG.5 subvariant, given that it exists in the Omicron family.

The public should be able to start receiving the shots starting in the fall.

“Vaccination continues to be the best way to protect against severe outcomes of Covid-19,” the CDC spokesperson said.

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