It looks that the BA.2 variant is on its way to becoming the dominant COVID strain, as the CDC reports that the number of cases has almost doubled every week for the last month. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies BA.2 as a sublineage of the highly contagious omicron form. Omicron BA.2 is a distinct version of omicron than BA.1, which caused the rise in the Northeast last year.
BA.2, a new COVID variant
The WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) reaffirmed that the BA.2 sublineage should be deemed a variety of concerns and classed as Omicron based on current data. The group stressed that public health authorities should continue to monitor BA.2 as a unique sublineage of Omicron, according to World Health Organization.
Globally, the Omicron variation of concern accounts for roughly all GISAID sequences. The WHO and partners monitor Omicron sublineages. Most frequent are BA.1, BA.1.1 (or Nextstrain clade 21K), and BA.2 (or Nextstrain clade 21L). Globally, the proportion of BA.2 sequences reported has risen in recent weeks, while the global circulation of all variants appears to be decreasing.
The new variant spreads too fast
According to the CDC, the number of people infected with COVID in the United States who tested positive for BA.2 was 23.1% in the week ending March 11 compared to 7.1% in the week ending February 26. As reported by ABC News, despite the fact that the original omicron variant still accounts for the majority of COVID infections in the United States, its prevalence has decreased from 74.5 percent to 66.1 percent during the same time period.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, predicts a spike in BA.2 infections within the next month. Fauci expects BA.2 will overtake the original omicron type as the main variant in the country.
BA.2 Variant symptoms
The Health Ministry reported that the two Israelis, who tested positive for COVID-19, showed mild symptoms of the variant, including fever, headaches, and muscle aches. As mentioned by Deseret News, Omicron variants of COVID-19 have resulted in a variety of symptoms, all of which are unique to each patient based on their vaccination status and prior exposure to the disease. The most common omicron variant symptoms, as identified by Business Insider using data from the Zoe COVID Symptom Study, included a runny nose, headaches, lethargy, and sneezing.