Snippet from FEMERAID International Air Rescue as of 21 August 2023
The Air Rescue Team of FEMERAID International informs all our members, Knights and Dames of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories (KMFAP) about the followings:

Unfortunately, even though it has been more than 3 years since the beginning of the COVID-19 era and most of the world has returned to its pre-pandemic routines, it may be time to start paying attention to COVID again.

However, the emergence of a new dominant variant and an increase in hospitalizations could lead to another surge this summer. In fact, since April, a new COVID variant has emerged that is very similar to its original strain, XBB.1.9.2, but with an additional spike mutation.
U.S. COVID-related hospitalization rates have risen by 12.5% in the past week, marking the sharpest increase since December. However, no link was made between the new variant and the rise in hospital admissions.

In addition, experts at the CDC have found no difference in disease severity or symptoms between this strain and previous strains.
It is evident that the COVID virus has a tendency to mutate, but fortunately these mutations are relatively minor, yet the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, remains highly contagious.

Though the numbers are still lower compared to last year’s summer surge, experts advise people to remain vigilant about changes in the virus. For context, in June, 0.47% of ER visits in the US resulted in a positive COVID diagnosis, while in August that rate had more than doubled to 1.1%. In June, 4.1% of tests returned positive results, and in July, 8.9% of individuals who took a COVID test reported a positive result. Since then, the positivity rate has been increasing.
It’s important to note that these numbers only include test results reported to health authorities, and home test results remain mostly unknown.
In July 2023, the weekly percentage of deaths attributed to COVID-19 was about 1%, which is considerably lower than the 5.8% observed in July 2022.

The FEMERAID team believes that if individuals consistently make informed decisions and receive the new Omicron vaccine or booster once it is accessible, we anticipate a decrease in hospitalization rates over the winter.

Everyone is encouraged to obtain the Omicron booster as soon as it becomes available.

Keep safe and stay healthy!

21st August 2023