News Wrap: 2 new COVID subvariants driving majority of U.S. cases

In our news wrap Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci called attention to two new subvariants of COVID-19 that now represent more than half of all U.S. cases, protestors in Shanghai clashed with police over China's restrictive COVID lockdowns, intense Russian shelling continues in Ukraine as residents evacuate Kherson, and the U.S. soccer federation took a brief stand online in support of Iran's protests.

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  • John Yang:

    Good evening. As Americans contend with three contagious respiratory illnesses – RSV, the seasonal flu, and COVID-19 — Dr. Anthony Fauci, who`s retiring as the nation`s top infectious disease expert, called attention today to new strains of COVID-19. BQ1 and BQ1.1 already account for 57 percent of U.S. cases. And Dr. Fauci says these new strains can evade the latest protections.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci:

    The reason you keep an eye on those is that they have what`s called a transmission advantage in that they are evasive of the protection that you have. It also diminishes the protection that is induced by vaccination and by prior infection. It doesn`t disappear, but it brings it down a few folds.

  • John Yang:

    The latest booster only protects through the Omicron sub variants, which make up less than 20 percent of current cases. And in China, outrage over restrictive COVID measures is boiling over. Protestors have taken to the streets of Shanghai, China`s most populist city. In rare public demonstrations, protestors are seen clashing with police. Some even called for Chinese President Xi Jinping to step down. The country`s zero-COVID policies have confined some residents to their homes for months. Since the protests began days ago, some cities have eased their COVID restrictions slightly.

    In Ukraine, intense Russian shelling continues in numerous cities in the east and south. Throughout the weekend, a steady stream of cars full of evacuees poured out Kherson as much of the city, recaptured by Ukraine just weeks ago, lies in ruins. Nationwide, utility crews scramble to restore water, heat and electricity to millions. Even as power slowly comes back online, Ukrainians are being asked to conserve as temperatures drop.

    And U.S. soccer briefly used its platform to symbolically stand with Iranians protesting against their theocratic regime. The U.S. men`s team displayed the World Cup group standings on its social media channels but without the emblem of the Islamic Republic and Iran`s flag. The move comes after the Iranian National Team chose to stay silent during their national anthem and their first World Cup match. The full flag was eventually restored on U.S. soccer social media. The U.S. team faces Iran on Tuesday.

    Still to come on PBS News Weekend, the COVID flu scientists are finding in our wastewater, and a doctor reflects on his 50-year career providing abortion services.

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