Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 Subvariants Have Become Dominant in the U.S.

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Omicron
Courtesy of Gerard Stolk (Flickr CC0)

COVID-19 —and its variants like Omicron — is still spreading, and there’s no sign of it letting up soon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this pandemic has not passed unnoticed by the various branches of intelligence services worldwide. Recent reports from Russia and other Eastern Bloc countries suggest that something far more sinister than influenza may be happening.

Although details remain sparse, what has emerged so far is that several strains of flu virus, all previously thought to have been eradicated, have reemerged with a worrying degree of strength and resilience. At least one strain, in particular, appears to have been genetically modified.

South Africa was the first to notice the surge of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants cases. Recently, over 100,000 news coronavirus cases were reported in the United States. Hospitalization averages 31,000 daily.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants became dominant among new coronavirus cases. As of the week ending Saturday, Omicron BA.4 made up 15.7 percent of new cases, and BA.5 was 36.6 percent, accounting for about 52 percent of new possibilities in the United States.

Omicron
Courtesy of Japanexperterna.se (Flickr CC0)

Since the detection of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 six months ago, these subvariants have overtaken the BA.2 and BA.2.12.1.

While vaccine availability for children was a welcome development, experts do not expect the doses to change the trajectory of the U.S. pandemic. The waning of vaccine protection might explain why the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants quickly spread. There is also an urgency to develop Omicron-targeted boosters, but it is not yet clear how well they could protect against BA.4 and BA.5 infection.

Primary evidence showed that people preciously infected with Omicron BA.1 will be easily reinfected by BA.4 or BA.5

COVID-19 Omicron is never a pleasant experience, but it’s downright deadly. The best way to combat Omicron is to remain vigilant and keep away from infected individuals. Those who find themselves coming down with flu should get plenty of rest. Regularly observe the nose and hands, and avoid spending too much time around people until this outbreak has passed. The last thing people need is another pandemic on their hands.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

The New York Times: The Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 have together become dominant in the U.S., the C.D.C. estimates; by Adeel Hassan
US News: CDC: New Omicron Subvariants Take Over as Dominant Coronavirus Strains; by Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder
The New York Times: Covid Live Updates: F.D.A. Panel Debate If Vaccines Need to Be Updated for Autumn

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Gerard Stolk‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Japanexperterna.se‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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