Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

State officials say influenza and RSV in decline, COVID-19 still around

Though cases are dropping, weekly nationwide COVID deaths reported by the CDC remain around 2,000

During a Public Health ECHO held via Zoom on Wednesday and streamed to Facebook, State Epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin provided an update on the status of COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus in Alaska and beyond.

“COVID activity is really decreasing,” McLaughlin said, pointing to nation and worldwide data.

McLaughlin said that around the globe, COVID-19 case counts are mostly in steep decline, though said that same decline is largely not being seen here in Alaska. That said, McLaughlin described state numbers as being “low, much lower than they were last summer.”

McLaughlin said that though cases are dropping, weekly nationwide deaths reported by the CDC remain around 2,000. Hospitalization counts are also declining. McLaughlin said the overwhelming majority of those hospitalized are the older age groups.

Just as McLaughlin reported in February’s Public Health ECHO, XBB.1.5 remains the dominant subvariant of COVID-19 in the U.S. and Alaska.

During the ECHO, Immunization Program Manager Sarah Aho said that updated guidance for the COVID-19, specifically concerning the possibility of annual boosters, would come in late summer or early fall.

Turning to influenza and RSV, McLaughlin said that both are in steep decline in the state and the country, and have been for around a month. McLaughlin mentioned in this ECHO, as well as in January and February that a second spike of influenza is expected, but still hasn’t been observed anywhere in the United States. This year’s flu vaccine is showing “very high efficacy,” he said.

To learn more about the ECHOs or to view previous events, visit facebook.com/uaachdprojectecho.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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