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[WATCH] Hot COVID Summer: The BA.5 Variant Is Ruining Everyone’s Fun

[WATCH] Hot COVID Summer: The BA.5 Variant Is Ruining Everyone’s Fun

The newest strain of Covid could be the most contagious one yet, and it’s brought new symptoms that seem to strike at night.

Omicron BA.5 is a rapidly-spreading subvariant causing concern as it contributes to a fresh wave of infections around the globe, including in the United States, where it is now the dominant strain. Scientists have been finding differences with previous strains, including the ability to reinfect people within weeks of having Covid. BA.5 was first discovered in South Africa in February, one month after BA.4 was identified in the same country. Both have since spread around the world and sparked concern over a resurgence of Covid infections.

[Photo by Mark Rightmire/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images]
One added symptom from the new strain is night sweats, providing proof that the virus changes with each mutation. And while case counts are still much lower than the height of the original omicron variant wave in late 2021 and early 2022, state-by-state case numbers are over five times higher than they were this time last year and have been steadily rising since April. Hospitalizations also have risen in recent weeks, but are still relatively low compared to previous waves.

Each Omicron subvariant has been stronger and more contagious than the original omicron variant, but more troubling is the mutation they each carry which helps them evade antibodies someone may have from a previous omicron infection. That’s also why people who are vaccinated and even boosted are being impacted by the BA.5 variant.

Experts are urging people to get up-to-date on their vaccinations, and that includes getting a first booster shot, or second booster if eligible. Vaccinations and booster shots have been key factors in keeping hospitalizations relatively modest for now.

As of Saturday, there were 168,000 new U.S. COVID cases, with California leading the nation. The United States death total has now surpassed 1.5 million.

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