The Omicron BA.2 Variant: Your FAQs Answered – What We Know!

COVID-19 circumstances are rising within the US, and also you might need questions on BA.2, a subvariant of Omicron that’s now thought-about the predominant variant, in line with the World Well being Group (WHO). BA.2 was recognized within the US in late December, and though much like Omicron, there are key variations to remember as you navigate an period the place masks mandates and vaccine necessities are coming to an finish.

Under, Bernadette Boden-Albala, MPH, DrPH, director and founding dean on the College of California, Irvine Program in Public Well being, solutions all of your FAQs in regards to the Omicron BA.2 variant, together with how its signs differ from basic Omicron and the way frightened you have to be.

What’s the Omicron BA.2 variant

Viruses mutate with the intention to turn into extra contagious, reproduce extra shortly, and evade the immune system. So it’s useful to think about BA.2 as a sibling, however not a twin of the opposite Omicron variants, says Dr. Boden-Albala. Nonetheless, it has a extra contagious composition than Omicron’s different three lineages (BA.1, BA.1.1, and BA.3. I), she explains.

“Whereas we’re nonetheless studying extra in regards to the variant, research have proven that it’s extra transmissible than different types of COVID-19,” Dr. Boden-Albala says. Due to its elevated transmissibility, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) believes that the BA.2 subvariant now accounts for over half of latest COVID-19 circumstances in the USA.

Are the signs of BA.2 completely different from the opposite Omicron variants

“Signs are much like these we’ve seen in different COVID infections. Fever, chills, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, and physique aches are among the many signs noticed in BA.2 circumstances,” says Dr. Boden-Albala.

Although BA.2 is extra transmissible than different Omicron variants, it doesn’t seem like extra extreme. “[W]hen you have a look at the circumstances, they don’t seem like any extra extreme and they don’t seem to evade immune responses both from vaccines or prior infections,”  Anthony Fauci, MD, Chief Medical Advisor to the President of United States, informed ABC Information.

The CDC notes that, as with all variants, the severity of your signs will rely in your vaccination standing, your age, medical historical past, and any pre-existing circumstances you might need.

Who’s most at-risk for growing a severe case of Omicron BA.2

As with all variants, individuals with sure pre-existing medical circumstances are extra in danger for growing extreme circumstances of Omicron BA.2, particularly people with continual lung illnesses, cystic fibrosis, dementia, coronary heart illness, diabetes, or HIV infections.

Those that are immunocompromised and those that are 65 and older additionally face extra hazard in the event that they contract the BA.2 variant. In reality, people 65 years and older who’ve not been vaccinated are 52 occasions extra prone to be hospitalized with COVID-19 in comparison with their vaccinated and boosted friends.

Your finest course for shielding your self in opposition to the Omicron BA.2 variant

By now you in all probability know the drill, however let’s get again to the fundamentals of defending your self from COV1D-19, we could? “Getting vaccinated is one of the best factor you are able to do to guard your self and others from BA.2 and different COVID-19 variants. Finishing the primary sequence of vaccines is important, after which staying updated with boosters whereas making logic calls about masking, social distancing, etcetera,” says Dr. Boden-Albala. Keep in mind: Getting vaccinated lowers your threat of getting and spreading the virus, and diminishes its severity if get it.

“We shouldn’t panic, however we should always keep vigilant by maintaining with our vaccine schedules, testing tips, and by evaluating threat all over the place we go to find out when to masks up,” says Dr. Boden-Albala.

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