According to Center of Disease Control US, the BA.2 sub variant of the Omicron now makes up a quarter of Covid-19 infections in US. In US alone since January 2022, Omicron has made up all new infections and most cases caused by sub-variant of Omicron called BA.1. Both BA.1 and BA.2 are previously reported in early samples of Omicron, and now BA.2 is raising in number of cases.
How BA.2 is different from earlier variants?
A new omicron subvariant of the virus that causes COVID-19, BA.2, is quickly becoming the predominant source of infections amid rising cases around the world. the origin of BA.2 is still unclear, it has quickly become the dominant strain in many countries, including India, Denmark and South Africa. It is continuing to spread in Europe, Asia and many parts of the world.
Variant BA.2 has eight unique mutations not found in BA.1 and lacks thirteen mutations that BA.1 does have. BA.2 does, however, share around thirty mutations with BA.1. Because of its relative genetic similarity, it is called a subvariant of omicron as opposed to a completely new variant.
What are the symptoms of BA.2 infection?
The symptoms for BA.2 are like those seen in many COVID infections, including Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
People who get infected with BA.2 seem to largely mirror a small number of symptoms commonly reported in omicron infections, those symptoms are the following: cough, Fatigue, congestion, runny nose and could be dizziness.
According to CDC’s Nowcast estimation, BA.2’s prevalence is highest in Northeast. It is prevalent and in New York, New Jersey. CDC is saying that an estimation of 39.0% of the Omicron viruses are BA.2. The variant now is prevalent in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire.
While like rest of the world, Americans are getting back to normal life after tough two years of Covid-19 pandemic. But the rise of the new sub variant in US over the past few weeks has any measurable impact on Americans? – is the question. As per Dr. John Brooks, a medical epidemiologist of CDC Covid-19 response, there could be a raise in BA.s related infections but severe disease or deaths associated with the subvariant are unlikely to increase. Dr. Brooks said that “our data suggests that it’s going to keep growing, but we have few things working in our favor” In US many people infected with Omicron variant during Omicron surge and therefor likely to have high immunity from its subvariants including BA.2
“Prior infection with the original omicron appears to confer protection, not necessarily against infection but definitely against severe disease and death,” Brooks said.
A recent wastewater analysis from CDC data revealed that there is an increase in Covid-19. Wastewater samples have been used to monitor the spread of the virus as Covid-19 as virus shed in sewage even before the person may feel sick enough to evaluated for presence of Covid.
However, according to Dr. Bill Hanage, Epidemiologist from Harvard University testing wastewater may not accurately foretell about BA.2 surge that might result in severe illness. It is “worth noting that places in the U.S. that have lots and lots of BA.2 according to wastewater are not skyrocketing in the way they did BA.1 or even delta,” said Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
In UK, BA.2 accounts for 85% of new infections and cases have increased by 8.5% in past week. So also, there is an increase in hospitalization and death rate also increases up to 26.3% in last seven days according to recent numbers published by UK Govt. In last seven days there are 950 deaths. Data from England, N. Ireland, Scotland, and Wales has been used for the purpose.
Compared to last years, the number of average daily Covid related deaths in US has fallen below one thousand. The average infection is 32,884 per day (as per NBC news). As per CDC, reinfection with BA.2 is rare and moreover vaccination helps to protect people. Those who completed vaccination have chances of getting severe infection is extremely low.
In India, infections due to BA.2 sub-lineage of Omicron is increasing. The raise in cases was between December of 2021 to mid-January of this year. While the BA.2 has just become dominant in other nations, in India it has become dominant in early part of January which means BA.2 is now milder in India compared to previous variants. In India more than 190 crores people are vaccinated. The Central Government has done a commendable job in vaccinating citizens.
Responsibility of public to fight BA.2 variant: Follow the instructions for vaccinated, non-vaccinated, Covid -recovery patients.
· Follow the same guidelines that is recommended by WHO and Health Care centers.
· Wear masks – even though you are vaccinated, use masks whenever you can.
· Wear gloves
· Wash hand
· Maintain social distancing.
Get vaccinated to protect yourself and others from Covid. Let us not totally relax and let us keep our guards up to make sure to get protected from Covid infection.
· Image credit: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay (Free for commercial use)
Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: March 28, 2022