According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of a highly transmissible omicron subvariant are rising in the United States.
According to CDC statistics released Tuesday, while BA.2, or “stealth omicron,” remains the most common omicron subvariant circulating, BA.2.12.1 is on the rise, rising from 33 percent of coronavirus cases two weeks ago to nearly 43 percent last week.
BA.2.12.1 has already established itself as the main subvariant in some locations. The strain is responsible for 66 percent of illnesses in the CDC region that encompasses New York and New Jersey. In mid-April, New York State raised the alarm about BA.2.12.1.
According to experts, BA.2.12.1 is around 25% more transmissible than BA.2, so it’s likely contributing to the national spike in coronavirus cases.
According to US News, every day, approximately 66,000 new coronavirus cases are reported in the United States, up from 29,000 a month earlier.
Despite rising infection rates, states and towns have not reintroduced protective measures like mask use. COVID-19-related hospitalizations have also increased in the last month, although average deaths have remained stable at over 300 per day.
Though research is ongoing, experts do not expect BA.2.12.1 to be any more severe than BA.2.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky recently stated, “Additional evaluation is presently underway to understand the effects of BA.2.12.1 on vaccine effectiveness.” “Most critically, we continue to feel that people vaccinated, particularly those who have been boosted, have strong protection against severe disease, including BA.2.12.1.”
Other highly transmissible omicron subvariants circulating internationally, such as BA.4 and BA.5, which have caused an increase in coronavirus cases in South Africa, have yet to impact the United States.
While this may appear to be good news for the time being, it remains to be seen how those subvariants may spread in the future.
On Tuesday, Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organization said, “Many nations have had a different circulation of different sublineages.” “We don’t know now what will happen in countries with a significant BA.2 wave.” Will they benefit from the same growth advantage as BA.4 and BA.5 cases have?