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Ask the experts: What should you know and do about COVID in 2022?

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COVID-19 Omicron Variant

As the pandemic enters its third year, Texas health officials reported 12,156 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide on Tuesday.

While Texas’ hospitalizations are down, potentially signaling a turning point in the omicron surge, the number of daily deaths is expected to increase for several more days.

Hospitalizations reached their pandemic peak at 14,218 in January 2021.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to consider emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages six months to four years old by the end of February.

Approximately 68.8% of Texas’ population ages 5 and older had received at least one shot and 58.1% were fully vaccinated as of Feb. 1. More than 9 million Texans are still unvaccinated.

The child vaccination rate in Texas is higher than in many other Southern states, but COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations outpaced vaccinations in January.

On today’s show, Texas medical experts discuss a range of COVID-related topics and answer listener questions regarding the virus, variants and subvariants; what vaccine approval could mean for kids under 5; the 2021 rise in pediatric hospitalizations; new outpatient therapies; the latest research on long COVID in adults and children; masking for omicron; and more.

Guests:

  • Jason Bowling, MD, associate professor and infectious disease specialist in the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio and chief epidemiologist at University Health
  • Hana El Sahly, MD, professor of molecular virology and microbiology and of infectious diseases medicine at Baylor College of Medicine 
  • Rachel Pearson, MD, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and of medical humanities at the University of Texas at San Antonio and author of a recent piece published in The New Yorker 

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Thursday, February 3.

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