Rising ‘Eris’ variant fuels COVID concerns in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – COVID-19 cases are rising once again this summer, with the “Eris” variant emerging.

COVID counts on the rise across the nation, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, with the variant, ‘Eris’ becoming a new concern.

“It has become an endemic,” said Dr. Armando Paez. “It is a virus that will be circulating in the community. There will be highs and lows depending on factors that allow it to transmit to other people.”

In the most recent week, hospitalizations keep trending upward state by state. Here in Massachusetts, new data from the CDC show a 24% increase statewide in hospitalizations. But overall, the risk level is still considerably low.

While this uptick may seem sudden, doctors say this actually reflects the increase in cases that we saw last year. Several factors contributing to new cases, waning immunity, increase in travel, and even the weather.

The wetter-than-usual summer season, keeping people indoors with each other, and increasing the chances of spreading the virus. Dr. Paez adds, “It looks like it is mirroring from last year, but as it gets colder and the new booster shot isn’t available yet, there may be a continued increase of cases but we do not know how far its going to go up.”

Dr. Paez says your best line of defense is to get the booster shot, especially if you are immunocompromised. An updated vaccines for COVID is expected to be available by this fall pending FDA approval.

Kristina D’Amours is a reporter who is a part of the evening 22News team. Follow Kristina on X @KristinaD_WWLP and view her bio to see more of her work.