Health Advice



How to handle the uptick in COVID-19's omicron subvariants

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

In 1937's "A Star Is Born," Janet Gaynor and Fredric March play two actors, one headed for stardom, the other for ruin (there are no musical numbers!). Over the years, the plot mutated: In the 1954 remake with Judy Garland and James Mason, Garland's singing dominates. In the 1976 version, Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson's characters are rock 'n' roll musicians. And the powerful 2018 version with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper launched multiple Billboard hits.

Mutations are a hit or miss proposition -- and nothing demonstrates that more than the current rash of omicron subvariants. Currently we know that the dominant mutation in the U.S. is the highly contagious BA.5. In mid-July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that it accounted for over 60% of new infections, and BA.5, along with another variant, BA.4, accounted for 80% of new cases. Those two are also fueling reinfections and hospitalizations. You can be fully vaccinated and boosted or been previously infected and still get a breakthrough infection.

Plus ... there's another variant, BA.2.75. It's crept into the U.S., but as of this writing, it's too early to know what its risks are.

What is known is that if you're vaccinated and boosted, you help prevent mutations and, if you're infected, you gain significant protection from complications like brain fog and death. That's why most experts (me, too) advocate almost everyone 6 months and older be vaccinated and boosted, if they qualify. Also, wear a mask in crowds. The more people get infected with these variants, the more likely we are to infect others.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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