The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

COVID Is Not Done with Us

Aug 21, 2023

Everyone is totally done with COVID. But … COVID has other plans. And it has been on the rise since July, doubling in August—just in time for the beginning of the school year. Although it is far below the numbers seen in previous waves, nonetheless hospitalizations are up across the country. EG.5 is the most recent variant, an offshoot of the Omicron variant, causing 17% of new COVID-19 cases in the country. XBB.1.16 is another common variant.

EG may sound like a whole new flavor of the virus, but it’s not. It is in fact a spinoff of the XBB strain of the Omicron family. EG has one extra mutation on its spike. This mutation has appeared in other coronavirus variants before. Scientists aren’t sure what new tricks it allows the virus to do, but variant hunters are paying attention because many of the new XBB descendants have adopted it. This suggests that this mutation may have some evolutionary advantage for the virus. Both variants are slightly more resistant to the antibodies that fight COVID, which are found in serum of infected and vaccinated people, according to Dr. David Ho, a professor of microbiology and immunology.

COVID is not going away. It is evolving and its family tree is growing. This is similar to what happened with the 1918 flu epidemic. It lasted three years and had multiple waves. And it is still with us—that is, the descendants of the pandemic flu. People are still hospitalized and still die from flu and its complications. And we are seeing a similar pattern with COVID.

And we are being told an updated vaccine will not be available until the end of September—after schools have been in session for several weeks.