July 8, 2022
Hiroshima prepares for Covid 7th wave this summer as new strain becomes dominant. Public urged to get their 3rd vaccination.
Covid infections are on the rise in nearby Shimane Prefecture as well as Tokyo and other areas, due to the prevelance of the new Omicron strain BA.5. Experts predict that the “seventh wave” of cases will soon enter Hiroshima Prefecture, with the peak expected to occur during the summer vacation period. Although the news train is highly infectious, its virulence is not believed to be high.
According to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, BA.5 is 12 to 13% more infectious than the BA.2 strain which became mainstream in the spring. This is believed to be due to the fact that BA.5 is able to bypass immunity acquired through vaccination and infection. On the other hand, the new strain is said to have inherited the characteristics that make it less likely to cause severe illness.
The BA.5 strain was confirmed in Shimane Prefecture in, ahead of the rest of the country, and accounted for over 70% of positive cases there by the end of June. So far, however, only one case of BA.5 has so far been confirmed in Hiroshima Prefecture. However, this one person has not moved outside of the prefecture in the recent past, there is a possibility of community-acquired infection. Masao Kuwahara, director of the Hiroshima Prefectural Center for Infectious Diseases and Disease Control, believes that it is only a matter of time before the BA.5 becomes dominant in Hiroshima.
During last year’s 4th and 5th waves infections started to rise in Hiroshima Prefecture about two weeks after increases in Tokyo. As the BA-5 strain has spread rapidly in since the beginning of July, it is estimated that its in Hiroshima Prefecture is likely to peak between the end of July and early August.
It is still thought that one of the most effective ways to prepare for the seventh wave is to increase the vaccination rate. As of July 5, only 59.7% of people in Hiroshima Prefecture have had the 3rd dose of the vaccination.
Chugoku Shinbun quotes Professor Sakaguchi, professor of virology at the Hiroshima University Graduate School of Medicine, as saying, “It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect, so if you want to be vaccinated, you should be vaccinated by mid-July. This will reduce the risk of infecting family members and others, and will help reduce the number of people infected at the peak of the seventh wave.” He is also quoted as saying that there is no need to refrain from traveling to or returning from areas where the infection has spread.
640 new cases of Covid-19 were announced in Hiroshima Prefecture on July 7, 2022
Hiroshima City 311
The number exceeded 600 for the 6th day in a row.
Note: Image at top of page shows infections nationwide.