Omicron's New Variant Cousin, BA.2, Hits the U.S. But Experts Say “Don’t Panic Yet”

Omicron’s New Variant Cousin, BA.2, Hits the U.S. But Experts Say “Don’t Panic Yet”

Cases of a newer variant of omicron, known as BA.2, have reportedly hit at least four states – California, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington – and three other continents.

The newer variant, “cousin,” is very similar to the original omicron. It has many mutations, including about 20 in the region targeted by most COVID19 vaccines.

Yet scientists in Massachusetts said this newer variant is expected to remain relatively mild, so it shouldn’t be cause for panic yet.

“I don’t think it’s going to cause the degree of chaos and disruption, morbidity and mortality that BA.1 did,” Dr. Jacob Lemieux, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re going to continue to move to a better place and, hopefully, one where each new variant on the horizon isn’t news.”

As cases of the Omicron B.1 variant have started to decline in the Northeast United States, cases of BA.2 are being reported on the West coast.

The variant is now rising in places like the Philippines, India, Denmark, and South Africa, Lemieux told USA Today.

In Denmark, the rise of BA.2 is happening just as BA.1 falls, but they’re currently split about 50-50, so according to Dr. Lemieux, “it’s not clear which of these variants is driving the outbreak,” he said.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, where cases had dramatically declined after a massive surge around Thanksgiving, BA.2 is now more prevalent than its predecessor, BA.1.

“What we don’t know and still have almost no information on is what impact this will have on case counts, on hospitalizations, on deaths,” Dr. Lemieux added.

About Regan

Blogging since 2006, Regan has written for numerous online publications including YoRaps.com, BallerAlert.com and her own online labor of love Honeygrip.com. In 2010, as her alter-ego Honeygrip, Regan was the gossip correspondent for controversial radio personalities Star & Bucwild. Each experience not only thickened her skin but it introduced her to a new passion, the new realm of ‘social media’.

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