The BA.2 subvariant, which spreads 80% faster than the earlier omicron, has more than doubled in the U.S. over two weeks and will become the dominant variant. However, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said he doesn't expect another surge right now, though cases might rise.
Omicron’s more contagious subvariant, BA.2, has more than doubled in prevalence over the past two weeks in the U.S. and now represents more than 34% of Covid-19 infections that have undergone genetic sequencing, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week, CNBC reports.
BA.2 has been steadily growing as a proportion of the Covid variants circulating in the U.S. since Feb. 5, when it represented about 1% of genetically sequenced virus samples, according to the CDC. BA.2 probably already accounts for 50% of new infections in the U.S. because many people are taking tests at home that aren’t picked up in the official data, according to Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
Data from Walgreens, which conducts testing at its pharmacies nationwide, shows BA.2 as the dominant variant, at 51% of all positive Covid cases for the week ending March 19.
Though BA.2 is rising in the U.S., leading public health officials are not expecting another dramatic surge in new cases, largely due to the level of immunity the population has from vaccination and the fierce outbreak during the winter omicron wave.
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