4 News Now Q&A: What do you need to know about the new BA.2 subvariant?

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Q: What do you need to know about the new BA.2 subvariant?

After two years in a pandemic, the last thing we wanted to hear was news of another variant. First, it was delta, then it was omicron and now it is BA.2. Scientists around the world are keeping their eye on the subvariant of omicron that has been found in at least 40 countries, including the U.S. 

A: It is important to keep in mind that the evolution of COVID subvariants is not new. 

The delta variant also had several subvariants, but scientists referred to all of them as Delta. 

BA.2 has earned its own name due to rising numbers across several nations. 

In Denmark, cases are spreading so fast that it has replaced omicron as the dominant strain. Research out of Denmark shows the subvariant seems to be more contagious that omicron, but scientists there found no difference in the risk of hospitalization. 

Still, there is some concern about the findings. 

BA.2 is widely considered stealthier than the original version of omicron because particular genetic traits make it somewhat harder to detect. 

That’s why doctors recommend the same precautions they have all along: get vaccinated, wear a mask and stay home when you’re sick. 

“Don’t let our guard down, we need to know how it’s performing. We need to know how much it is spreading and we need to know vaccine effectiveness against it. That’s the most important part,” said Dr. Ali Mokdad of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. 

Ultimately, while public health officials are urging continued research and surveillance, experts say there is little reason to worry. 

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READ: Q&A: Could the omicron variant get us out of the pandemic?