MDHHS: No concerning trends for new Covid variant 'FLiRT'

Many small business owners admit that they don’t like thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We’re still feeling it now. We’re still feeling it - it’s not out," said Abe Mroue, owner of Providence Coney Island. "They put these prices up and everything stayed up. Nothing came back down."

But as many small businesses try to move forward - the Centers for Disease Control announced new Covid variants are sweeping the US.  They’re known as FLiRT.

"Different name, same thing all over again, that’s how I feel," Mrou said.

Doctors say the variants are how the virus continues to evolve.

"It’s a constantly changing virus so we had to variance and then sub-variant, and these are still sub-variants of omicron," said Dr. Matthew Sims, director of Infectious Disease Research, Corewell Health. "JN1 was the prior sub-variant. That was the major one and that one is going down and the FLiRT variants are coming up."

FOX 2 reached out to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and officials say:

"We continue to update Michigan COVID data on our dashboard on a weekly basis and have not seen any concerning trends. Now medical experts are working to learn what type of impact these new variants could have on people."

"The symptoms are fairly similar," Sims said. "There’s some concerns that there may be more hospitalizations recently, but we have not really seen a huge impact here yet."

FOX 2: That leads to the next question for people who got vaccinated, are they still covered?

"So you know that’s the big question," Sims said. "The last vaccine came out around the time the flu vaccine came out, so we’re coming towards six months since that, so probably immunity in general, is starting to wane."

MDHHS officials say although FLiRT may be a new mutation, the updated COVID-19 vaccine has shown some effectiveness.

But data from the state indicates that just over 12% of Michigan residents have received an updated COVID-19 vaccine.

"If you haven’t been vaccinated yet with the last booster you should probably get it," Sims said.

As business owners learn more about the new variants many are taking extra precautions.

"If somebody calls in and says they are feeling the Covid, oh don’t come in," Mroue said. "We don’t even hesitate right now to keep them at home. We don’t want them here, and they don’t want to be here."