After two and half years of dealing with COVID-19, a new strain is here, and Biden’s chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci is once again telling everyone to mask up. 

The new variant, BA.5, is said to evade immune responses from the vaccine or from people who have previously been infected. 

On CNN, Fauci advised people to get the vaccine and its accompanying booster shots in order to be safe from the new variant. 

“The thing that is important to note is that immunity against infection wanes pretty quickly, and it goes way, way down. Where we have been fortunate is that the immunity against severe disease—leading to hospitalization and, unfortunately, death in some cases—tends to hold reasonably well, but it’s slipping,” Fauci told CNN. 

The new variant is said to have the same symptoms as the previous variants: fever, runny nose, and a sore throat. These symptoms are often associated with the flu and the common cold. 

Last week, Biden’s top health official sounded the alarm on the new variant, claiming there will be a resurgence of the virus this fall and winter. 

With the midterm elections right around the corner, however, some have expressed skepticism around claims that BA.5 could be one of the “most infectious” variants. 

“As predicted, here comes the midterm variant! Better get those unsolicited mail in ballots and the Zuckerberg ballot boxes ready to go!” tweeted U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, who previously served as the White House physician.

California has already begun to respond. 

Last month, Alameda County reimplemented mask mandates in most indoor public spaces due to the new variant, and Los Angeles County once again threatened to implement a mask mandate with an effective date of July 29 if cases don’t go down considerably.

Despite what Fauci has said, many health officials agree the new variant is actually a more mild case of the coronavirus that spreads quickly, making the urgency for masks and vaccine mandates less reputable.

David Montefiori, a professor at the Human Vaccine Institute at Duke University Medical Center, told NBC News there is no evidence that the newest variant is more or less likely to make people sick or cause severe illness and death.

With inflation hitting 9.1 percent and the continued invasion of the southern border, many speculate that the newest COVID strain could become a welcome distraction for Democrats in the coming election cycle.

Emily Wilkerson

Emily is a summer fellow for Texas Scorecard. She is a senior at the University of Oklahoma, studying journalism with a minor in political science. She enjoys investigative journalism and making sure that every side of a story is being told.

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