On January 11, 2023, US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra renewed the determination that a public health emergency exists due to COVID - 19. Officials have promised a 60 day notice if they do not plan to renew the emergency, so this news was expected.
According to Dr. Christopher Ohl, "COVID is coming back and we are having a beginning of a wave." and the newest mutation of the virus (XBB. 1.5) is "The most infectious of them all". It is a recombinant virus with a mutation that allows it to attach more easily to the back of the nose and throat. All are at risk of becoming infected with this virus, including those who are vaccinated and/or have had COVID in the past. Because people do have more immunity now than in January 2021, Dr. Ohl is optimistic that hospitalizations will not be as high as in 2021. Older people, those with underlying chronic conditions or who are immunocompromised can become more ill than others who might experience this infection as a bad cold or flu.