Doctors eye Covid trends including 2 strains from South Africa we need to watch for

Covid numbers are going down, but a Metro Detroit Beaumont doctor spoke about recent trends that everyone should be aware of.

"Right now the main killers are still the variants we have right here in the US, but internationally there are a couple variants that are more concerning," said Dr. Justin Skrzynski.

Skrzynski at Beaumont Health in Royal Oak, works with COVID patients. Case rates and hospitalizations appear to be trending downward - but at any moment a new variant can throw a wrench into things. Like many health experts, Skrzynski is closely watching the trends.

"There’s a couple specifically out of South Africa, which look like they might be dissimilar enough from previous strains of Covid, that they might be able to get around the immune response either from natural immunity or the vaccine," he said.

A recent wave of the highly contagious but less virulent Omicron variants appears to be improving, but we can’t let our guard down.

"We know that we live in a global community," he said. "If you think about how quickly Omicron got around the world from the time when we first heard about it, it's very possible for these variants to spread very rapidly. So just making sure people are aware and making smart decisions."

Health officials say those Smart decisions include some of the things they’ve been recommending for a while now.. wear a mask indoors… try to socially distance when possible. New medicines have made things better overall.

"The anti-virals we have are very effective," Skrzymski said. "You hear about Paxlovid, the Covid pill, there is still one monoclonal antibody out there that is effective, and also Remdesivir which we can give in a short course to prevent progression to severe disease. They are very effective, but again, it's not 100 percent. There is no cure for Covid. There is no treatment that is guaranteed to work. The best treatment is to not get sick."