More contagious omicron BA.2 is on track to displace other variants

More contagious omicron BA.2 is on track to displace other variants

April 6, 2022: According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the contagious omicron BA.2 subvariant is now making up 72% of Covid infections that have undergone genetic sequencing in the U.S.

In the previous week, BA.2 became dominant in the U.S. and appeared on track to displace the sooner version of omicron, BA.1. Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Washington state, projected this would happen within two weeks.

Though the estimates differ, BA.2 is spreading 30% to 80% faster than BA.1., according to data from public health authorities in the U.K. and Denmark.

A top World Health Organization official, Maria Van Kerkhove, has described BA.2 as the transmissible version of the virus so far. Renewed outbreaks are occurring in major European nations, including the U.K. and Germany.

However, White House chief medial advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has said infections might arise, but he doesn’t expect another significant surge. Mokdad said he believes conditions in the U.S. will likely level off for a week or two and then decline until winter.

In the U.S., the recent infections and hospital admissions have declined by over 90% since the peak of the omicron wave in January. According to data from the federal Health and Human Services Department, the average number of people hospitalized with Covid in the U.S. was 11,000 as of Monday, the lesser level since 2020. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. reported a seven-day average of about 28,000 new infections, the lowest level since the previous July.

BA.2 generally does not make people sicker than the earlier version of omicron. According to studies from South Africa and Qatar, the vaccines have the same level of effectiveness against it. However, in general, omicron is adept at evading the protective antibodies generated by the vaccines and causing breakthrough infections that generally cause mild illness.

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More contagious omicron BA.2 is on track to displace other variants