BA.2 has Become the Dominant COVID Strain in the US

An uptick in cases is expected to accompany this new subvariant.

An uptick in cases is expected to accompany this new subvariant.

According to a recent report from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recently-identified subvariant of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, dubbed “BA.2,” has become the dominant strain of the virus in the United States, accounting for around 55% of all positive COVID tests in the country.

Originally identified in the United Kingdom, BA.2 is even more infectious than the standard Omicron variant, though it retains Omicron’s relatively lower viral load. This means that while it is easier for this variant to spread between people, those who become infected are less likely to become severely ill, especially if they have been vaccinated. BA.2 is believed to still be susceptible to the immune response generated by commercially available vaccines, though it isn’t entirely clear yet how well the vaccinated immune system handles it.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, this new dominant strain will likely bring a brief increase of COVID cases to the US. “The bottom line is we likely will see an uptick in cases as we’ve seen in the European countries, particularly the UK, where they’ve had the same situation as we’ve had now. They have BA.2. They have a relaxation of some restrictions such as indoor masking and there’s a waning of immunity,” he told ABC News.

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