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New variants. New vaccine. What are St. Louisans hearing?

We asked St. Louis adults what they are hearing about COVID-19. In the last 7 days, nearly two-thirds (65%) have heard that COVID cases are rising. This is a big increase from last week (+42%). In addition, 35% heard there is a new COVID variant, and 37% heard that FDA advisers recommended an update to COVID vaccines for the fall.

Respondents aged 50 and older were more likely than those under 50 to have heard about the new variants (66% vs. 21%) and the updated vaccines for fall (68% vs. 22%). Similarly, African American respondents were more likely than White respondents to have heard about the new variant (54% vs. 28%) and updated vaccine (57% vs. 25%).

The CDC has confirmed two new COVID variants: EG.5 (Eris) and BA.2.86 (Pirola). EG.5 is now the most common variant, accounting for about 20% of COVID cases. CDC’s vaccine advisory committee will meet in mid-September to vote on new COVID-19 vaccine guidelines.

Explore these data and more at iHeardSTL.

This week’s report is based on 158 responses from a panel of adult residents of St. Louis City and County surveyed from Saturday, September 2, to Monday, September 4, 2023. Explore these data and more at iHeardSTL.

Download the infographic below to share about this topic on social media.

Title of the post is “6 things about the new COVID-19 variant, EG.5.” The six things to know (from the CDC) are shared below that, each with a small icon relating to the fact:
1. It's responsible for nearly 21% of new cases.
2. It does not make people sicker than previous variants.
3. Existing treatments work against it.
4. Existing tests will detect it.
5. It is unclear if the upcoming booster will protect against it.
6. It is uncertain if it will spread enough for a case surge.

Suggested caption:

What’s known about COVID-19 variant EG.5 (Eris)? It’s now the most common, not more severe, and existing tests and treatments work. Scientists are uncertain about vaccine protection and potential case surges. Source: CDC. 


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