The Eris Variant of Covid is increasing illness and hospitalizations in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Health authorities are pointing at the EG.5 “Eris” Covid, a subvariant of the Omicron variant that first emerged in November of 2021.
In an august 9 press release, the WHO stated it is currently tracking several variants including EG.5, and have classified the Eris Variant of Covid as a ”variant of interest” and stresses that:
”The risk remains of a more dangerous variant emerging that could cause a sudden increase in cases and deaths.”
What is the Eris Variant?
Who are at risk from the Eris Variant?
COVID-19 and the Eris Variant can affect individuals of all ages, but certain groups are at a higher risk of developing severe illness if they contract the virus. These high-risk groups include:
- Elderly Individuals: People aged 65 and above are at a significantly higher risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
- Individuals with Underlying Health Conditions: People with chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, immune system disorders, kidney or liver disease, and other health conditions are at increased risk.
- Immunocompromised Individuals: Those with weakened immune systems due to medical treatments or underlying conditions face a higher risk of severe COVID-19.
- Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities: People living in nursing homes and similar settings are vulnerable due to close living arrangements.
Do I have to get a Eris Variant booster?
According to health officials of the CDC; boosters are able to shorten disease duration and lessen disease severity if you are infected with the Eris Variant of Covid.
For now the booster, which will likely be available in the US this fall, should mainly be used for at-risk groups such as the elderly, immunocopromised individuals and healthcare workers.
WHO stresses the importance of vaccination
Vaccine development efforts have been ongoing to provide protection against COVID-19 and its variants. Vaccines have been shown to be effective in reducing the severity of illness and preventing hospitalization and death, even against some of the variants. However, some variants have shown reduced susceptibility to neutralization by antibodies generated by vaccination, potentially affecting vaccine efficacy to some extent.
Demand for the covid vaccines has dropped sharply however, due to vaccine skepticism and public fatigue.
The ongoing effort to combat COVID-19 is met with fatigue.
Public fatigue has been observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. These factors can impact the effectiveness of Eris Variant Covid measures, including vaccination.
Public fatigue, also known as pandemic fatigue or compliance fatigue, refers to the weariness and decreased motivation among individuals and communities to adhere to public health guidelines and measures over an extended period of time. It often arises from a combination of factors such as prolonged stress, disruption of daily routines, economic hardships, and social isolation. As time goes on, people may become less willing to follow recommended behaviors, such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and lockdowns, due to the emotional and psychological toll of sustained restrictions and even be dishonest about their pandemic behaviour.
Causes of public fatigue
Several factors influence the onset and severity of public fatigue:
- Duration of Crisis: The longer a crisis like a pandemic persists, the more likely people are to experience fatigue and reduced adherence to measures.
- Uncertainty and Inconsistency: Frequent changes in guidelines, unclear messaging, and inconsistent policies can lead to confusion and fatigue.
- Economic and Social Impact: Job losses, business closures, and social isolation can lead to mental health challenges and overall exhaustion.
- Loss of Novelty: People might initially comply with guidelines, but over time, the novelty and sense of urgency wear off.
Vaccine skepticism, on the other hand, refers to doubts, hesitations, or outright refusal to receive vaccinations. This skepticism can stem from various factors, including concerns about vaccine safety, distrust in public health authorities or pharmaceutical companies, misinformation or myths about vaccines, religious or cultural beliefs, and conspiracy theories. Vaccine skepticism can lead to lower vaccination rates, which can contribute to the spread of preventable diseases.
Causes of vaccine skepticism
Several factors influence the onset and severity of vaccine skepticism:
- Misinformation: False or misleading information about vaccines spread through social media, websites, or word of mouth can lead to skepticism.
- Distrust: Historical instances of medical misconduct or unethical practices can erode trust in health authorities.
- Fear of Side Effects: Concerns about potential adverse effects or misconceptions about vaccine ingredients can lead to hesitancy.
- Cultural and Religious Beliefs: Some individuals may have religious or cultural beliefs that influence their stance on vaccination.
- Lack of Education: Misunderstanding the science behind vaccines can contribute to skepticism.
How can I protect myself and my loved ones from the Eris Variant?
In general, to protect yourself and your loved ones from the Eris Variant of Covid you can follow these 10 steps:
- Vaccination: Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible. Vaccines have been shown to provide protection against severe illness and hospitalization caused by COVID-19 and its variants.
- Wear Masks: Wear masks, especially in crowded or indoor settings, to reduce the risk of transmission.
- Practice Good Hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer when soap is not available.
- Maintain Physical Distance: Practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from people who are not in your household, especially in crowded places.
- Avoid Crowds: Minimize participation in large gatherings and events, especially if they are indoors.
- Stay Informed: Stay updated on the latest guidance and recommendations from reputable health organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Monitor Symptoms: Be vigilant for symptoms of COVID-19, which can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, and fatigue. If you or your loved ones experience symptoms, seek testing and follow public health guidelines.
- Quarantine and Isolation: If you or someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19 or is exposed to a confirmed case, follow quarantine and isolation guidelines to prevent further spread.
- Travel Cautiously: If you must travel, research and follow guidelines for safe travel, including mask-wearing, hand hygiene, and vaccination status.
- Support Public Health Efforts: Participate in contact tracing, follow health department guidance, and support community efforts to control the spread of the virus.