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New COVID Sub-Variant Is 1.5 Times More Contagious Than Omicron. And It’s Already In Half Of U.S. States.

New COVID Sub-Variant Is 1.5 Times More Contagious Than Omicron. And It’s Already In Half Of U.S. States.

There are already dozens of cases across almost half of the U.S. of a new Covid subvariant that’s even more contagious than the already highly transmissible Omicron variant.

The Omicron subvariant, known as BA.2, is 1.5 times more transmissible than the original omicron strain, according to Danish scientists.
The U.K. Health Security Agency on Friday said BA.2 has a “substantial” growth advantage over the original omicron, known as BA.1.
Nearly half of U.S. states have confirmed the presence of BA.2 with at least 127 known cases nationwide as of Friday, according to a global database that tracks Covid variants.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Friday that although BA.2 has increased in proportion to the original omicron strain in some countries, it is currently circulating at a low level in the U.S. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet labeled BA.2 a variant of concern. However, WHO officials have repeatedly warned that new variants will arise as omicron spreads across the world at an unprecedented rate. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, warned on Tuesday that the next Covid will variant be more transmissible.

BA.1 and BA.2 have many differences in their mutations in the most important areas. In fact, the difference between BA.1 and BA.2 is greater than the difference between the original “wild strain” and the Alpha variant, which was the first major mutation to take root across the world. The major concern is that BA.2 will be more transmissible because it has to overtake the variant that’s currently circulating. While there’s not enough data yet to determine whether BA.2 is able to reinfect people who caught the original Omicron variant, prior infection would likely provide some crossover immunity to BA.2.


Pfizer and Moderna started clinical trials this week on omicron-specific shots amid growing concern that new variants will emerge as immunity induced by the original vaccines wanes.

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