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Covid-19 Hospitalizations Jump 10% After Bar Reopening, Seen Rising as BA.4/BA.5 Spreads

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Covid-19 patients admitted to Bangkok hospitals has risen 10% since Thailand’s bars and nightlife industry were allowed to fully reopen this month.

Dr. Somsak Akksilp, director-general of the Department of Medical Services, said May saw about 900 Covid-19 patients at hospitals in the capital. That number is now above 1,000 and is projected to rise further with the emergence of two coronavirus omicron subvariants in Thailand.

The DMS said June 24 the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of omicron now have been found 200 times. There are many, many more, however, as not all samples are sequenced.

There are currently five omicron subspecies or descendant lineages, but BA.4 and BA.5 are the most concerning as they mutate the L452R DNA node, which was the same as the much-more-deadly delta variant, causing more harm to human lungs than previous strains.

None of those 200 cases were severe or fatal.

But medical experts feel the more-serious and more-transmissable BA.4 and B.5 subvariants will exacerbate a rising trend in cases and hospitalizations just as Thailand fully reopens. The government is anxious to declare Covid-19 endemic, but the coronavirus may not cooperate.

Those infected with the original omicron BA.1 or BA.2 in can be reinfected with BA.4 or BA.5.

Thailand on Saturday reported 2,236 official new Covid-19 cases and 16 fatalities. In addition, there were 3,637 unofficial positive antigen tests. Another 114 people were admitted to hospitals.