UW Medicine: 1 in 4 new COVID-19 cases attributed to BA.2 omicron variant

One in four new COVID-19 cases sequenced at UW Medicine’s virology lab is from the omicron BA.2 subvariant.

Washington officials hastened to put an end to pandemic protocols, but the virus remains a concern for medical professionals. The BA.2 subvariant was first detected in Washington in January, nicknamed ‘stealth omicron,’ and at the time had only infected two people.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: New Omicron subvariant BA.2 detected in Washington

Now, it accounts for 25% of all new COVID cases UW Medicine screens.

"It's been sort of slowly creeping up over the last six weeks," said the lab’s assistant director, Dr. Alex Greninger. "It’s going to be interesting to see what the end of April, beginning of May, what that time period will look like."

Nationally, the BA.2 variant makes up 35% of new infections, according to the CDC. Greninger is hopeful BA.2 infections will not surpass omicron infections.

Luckily, early data shows people who have been recently infected with omicron are more resilient to symptomatic BA.2 infections. This means they can still get COVID and still transmit it, but are unlikely to suffer respiratory or serious diseases caused by the virus.

The COVID-19 vaccine booster shots further prevent major illness, including from the BA.2 subvariant.

WA Forward: State health officials to release long-term COVID-19 plan

Washington state’s health officials are planning to release their newest long-term pandemic plan.

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