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BA.2 is the dominant COVID-19 variant in the US. Here’s what’s known about it

In the latest battle of the coronavirus mutants, an extra-contagious version of the micron has conquered the world. The coronavirus version known as BA.2 is now prevalent in at least 68 countries, including the United States. The World Health Organization says it accounts for about 94% of all micron sequence cases submitted to an international coronavirus database in the most recent week. Dr. Wesley Long, a physician at the Houston Methodist in Texas, said he saw BA.2 quickly become dominant in his medical system. “It’s not terribly surprising because it’s more contagious than the original micron,” Long said. As variation evolves, scientists are learning more about it. But they still do not know exactly how it will affect the trajectory of the pandemic. WHAT’S KNOWNBA.2 has many mutations. It was dubbed the “stealth omicron” because it lacked a genetic peculiarity of the original omicron that allowed health workers to quickly differentiate it from the delta variant using a specific PCR test. One reason BA.2 has gained ground, scientists say, is that it is about 30% more contagious than the original micron. In rare cases, research shows that people can get sick even if they already have a micron infection – although it does not appear to cause a more serious illness. Vaccines seem equally effective against both types of microns. For both, vaccination plus a booster offers strong protection against serious illness and death. HAS THE VARIETY INCREASED? Coronavirus outbreaks increased in parts of Europe and Asia when BA.2 became dominant, and some scientists worry that the variant could also trigger As cases on all sides of USB are more contagious, they are spreading at a time when governments relax the constraints designed to control COVID-19. Also, people take off their masks and return to activities such as traveling, eating indoors in restaurants and busy events. At this point, overall coronavirus cases in the US continue to decline. But there have been increases in some places, such as New York, Arizona and Illinois. Health officials have also pointed out that case measurements are becoming more unreliable due to the widespread availability of home tests and the fact that some people are no longer being tested. “We are entering a phase where rising cases or waves can be very peripheral and can be highly dependent on vaccination levels in the community – and not just vaccination levels but vaccination schedules,” Long said. “How long ago was it? Did people get boosts? “Because we know that immunity to the vaccine decreases a little over time.” Long said he felt “very confident” that the cases would eventually return to the United States, whether due to BA.2 or some future variant. “If it is BA.2,” he said, “it could be more wave or velocity than wave.” WORRIED ABOUT IT? As the coronavirus continues to evolve, the WHO monitors other mutants, including hybrids known as “recombinants.” These include delta and micron combinations and hybrids of BA.2 and the original micron, also known as BA.1. A recombination closely monitored by health authorities is a BA.1-BA.2 hybrid called XE, first identified in the UK in January. About 600 cases have been reported and scientists believe it may be about 10% more contagious than BA.2. WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE DO? Expert advice remains the same: Take precautions to avoid getting COVID-19. “The virus is still circulating out there,” Long said. “Vaccination is still your best defense.” the shots if you have not already done so, he said, and take the second boost if you meet the criteria If you are 50 years old or older or have a weakened immune system. “If cases start to increase in your community, consider assessing your level of risk,” Long said. “If you stopped covering up and stopped worrying about distancing yourself and things … it ‘s time to reinstate these safeguards.” The AP is solely responsible for all content.

In the last battle of the coronavirus mutants, an extra-contagious version of the micron has conquered the world.

The coronavirus version known as BA.2 is now prevalent in at least 68 countries, including the United States.

The World Health Organization says it accounts for about 94% of all micron-sequence cases reported to an international coronavirus database in the most recent week.

Dr Wesley Long, a physician at the Houston Methodist in Texas, said he saw BA.2 quickly become dominant in his medical system.

“It’s not a big surprise because it’s more contagious” than the original micron, Long said.

As the variant evolves, scientists learn more about it. But they still do not know exactly how it will affect the trajectory of the pandemic.

WHAT IS KNOWN

BA.2 has many mutations. It was dubbed the “stealth omicron” because it lacked a genetic peculiarity of the original omicron that allowed health workers to quickly differentiate it from the delta variant using a specific PCR test.

One reason BA.2 has gained ground, scientists say, is that it is about 30% more contagious than the original micron. In rare cases, research shows that people can get sick even if they already have a micron infection – although it does not appear to cause a more serious illness.

Vaccines are equally effective against both types of microns. For both, vaccination plus a booster offers strong protection against serious illness and death.

HAS THE CASE RAISED?

Coronavirus outbreaks increased in parts of Europe and Asia when BA.2 became prevalent, and some scientists are concerned that the variant could also increase outbreaks in the United States.

In addition to being more contagious, it is spreading at a time when governments are easing restrictions designed to control COVID-19. Also, people take off their masks and return to activities such as traveling, eating indoors in restaurants and attending busy events.

At this point, overall coronavirus cases in the US continue to decline. But there have been increases in some places, such as New York, Arizona and Illinois. Health officials have also noted that case measurements are becoming more unreliable due to the widespread availability of home tests and the fact that some people are no longer being tested.

“We are entering a phase where rising cases or waves can be very peripheral and can be highly dependent on vaccination levels in the community – and not just vaccination levels but vaccination times,” Long said. “How long ago was it? Did people get boosts? “Because we know that immunity to the vaccine decreases a little over time.”

Long said he felt “very confident” that the cases would eventually return to the US, whether due to BA.2 or some future variant. “If it is BA.2,” he said, “it could be more of a wave or a speed shock than a wave.”

At present, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 continue to decline nationally.

ARE THERE OTHER VARIATIONS THAT WE NEED TO REMEMBER?

As the coronavirus continues to evolve, the WHO monitors other mutants, including hybrids known as “recombinants.”

These include delta and micron combinations and hybrids of BA.2 and the original micron, also known as BA.1.

A recombination closely monitored by health authorities is a BA.1-BA.2 hybrid called XE, first identified in the UK in January. About 600 cases have been reported and scientists believe it may be about 10% more contagious than BA.2.

WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE DO?

Expert advice remains the same: Take precautions to avoid getting COVID-19.

“The virus is still circulating out there,” Long said. “Vaccination is still your best defense.”

Get the vaccine if you have not already done so, he said, and get a second booster if you qualify because you are 50 years old or older or have a weakened immune system.

“If cases start to increase in your community, consider assessing your level of risk,” Long said. “If you have stopped hiding and stopped worrying about distancing yourself and things, then it is time to reinstate these safeguards.”

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The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Education Sciences of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

BA.2 is the dominant COVID-19 variant in the US. Here’s what’s known about it Source link BA.2 is the dominant COVID-19 variant in the US. Here’s what’s known about it

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