As the third year of the pandemic approaches, the current phase of the coronavirus crisis is not as frightening as the previous phases of 2020 and 2021. In fact, increasing immunity — bolstered by infections and vaccines — appears to make the coronavirus a slightly milder threat, akin to a cold and on flu.

Read more: We may be in transition from a pandemic to an endemic for COVID-19

In many ways, this taming of this virus has allowed people in the US to return to their normal habits, but that does not mean that the coronavirus is not an ongoing problem.

Still able to cause over 46 million infections in a year in the US alone, COVID-19 has also branched out into a range of antibody evasion variants and grown alongside several of the milder diseases it is slowly beginning to mimic.

So, here’s a quick rundown of the biggest COVID-19 developments in 2022.

Boosting immunity against COVID-19

Throughout the year, a combination of infections and vaccinations have provided immunity to a much larger portion of the US population, according to Project on COVID Countriesthe population of adults with antibodies to the virus exceeded 80 percent in 2022. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms this claim as well, claiming that nearly 95 percent of adults possess some form of immunity.

In general, this is possible increased immunity better prepared people to block and fight infections this year before their symptoms become too severe or heavy.

Read more: What is the secret of the ‘super-tricksters’ of COVID-19?

In fact, the infections seemed somewhat softer in 2022 than in 2020 and 2021. Although serious illness and death were still within the realm of possibility – with over 261,000 people dying of the disease in 2022 — several studies suggest that cases of COVID-19 have tended to rise shorter and sweeter average. The main symptoms were a sore, scratchy throat and slight sniffling.

This transformation of the coronavirus has made it possible to resume many pre-pandemic activities indoors and in person without worrying too much about distance and mask mandates.

Back in February, the CDC announced that most people could spend time indoors and attend work and school without wearing a mask. Since thenthe agency recommended the coatings sporadically, in some communities and certain circumstances where the risk of contracting the virus requires an additional layer of protection.

A variety of variants of COVID-19

All this said, the coronavirus conditions are not only improving. Just before the start of 2022 Omicron appear for the first time. Soon this antibody-evading variant of the virus was discovered worldwide and became dominant in the US, which accounts for the majority of developing cases of coronavirus.

Indeed, immediately after its emergence, the proportion of people in the US who had caught the virus at some point since the start of the pandemic suddenly rose, increasing from 35 to 60 percent.

Read more: What new variants of COVID-19 are currently circulating?

The initial surge in Omicron cases continued weeks and weeksand in its climax produces highest peak of infections in the pandemic so far. The reason was that option infected any persons — young and old, vaccinated and unvaccinated — whether or not they have already contracted another version of the virus.

Despite all this, however, infections seem to include a softer version of COVID-19, as victims of the variant tend to recover quickly from illness, with enhanced immunity to boot.

This, of course, was one of the biggest factors contributing to our increased immune defenses this year, combined with an updated version of the vaccine which is aimed specifically at Omicron. In turn, we were better prepared for the variety of new variants in the Omicron family that appeared during the year.

In fact, since its initial leap, Omicron has branched out into several sub-variants, including BA.4 and BA.5 and BQ.1 and BQ.1.1many of which have caused their own increases in cases, although they remain relatively mild most of the time.

A problem in threes

Experts describe some of these Omicron sub-variants, particularly BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, as being highly transmissible and better at evading antibodies than any other strain of the virus, demonstrating “significant growth advantage,” as a result.

As such, these two subvariants continue to account for approx 70 percent of all coronavirus infections in the US. But matters are made worse by the fact that these subvariants do not pass through the population on their own.

Read more: Why are viruses more active in winter?

Without many of the previous precautions in place in the US this year, the start of the winter season has prompted an increase of approx 50 percent in the number of new cases of coronavirus during the transition from November 22 to December 12.

At the same time, the onset of the winter season also inspired infections from several other respiratory diseases, including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, scramble. The overlap of these three diseases, which some specialists call “tripledemia,” has already strained the medical system and led to one of the worst seasons of respiratory hospitalizations in history.

Read more: Forget ‘Twindemic’, experts are predicting ‘Tripledemic’ this winter

Of these three infections, scientists suspect that the surge in coronavirus cases is most at risk of continuing into the new year (although infection rates remain relatively apartment in the last week or so).

Although the consequences of such a continuation remain up in the air, it is believed that the build-up of antibodies in the population after this year could limit the total casualties. However, the CDC still recommends a short return to the most basic precautions, such as wearing masks indoors.

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