The variant of omicron known as BA.2 is set to rapidly cause a new wave of infections in the U.S. in the coming weeks, according to health experts and data from the Centers for Disease Control. BA.2 is classified as a subvarient of omicron, and it appears that it is more transmissible than the original omicron strain.
That could spell bad news for those who are only partially vaccinated or entirely unvaccinated. Even if BA.2 does not cause more serious disease, if infections spike again, hospitals in America are at threat of being overwhelmed.
BA2 is already dominant in some European countries, and recent data from the CDC shows the subvariant is quickly taking hold in the U.S. as well. The most recent CDC data comes from March 12 and shows that BA.2 now makes up 23% of all cases in America. That’s almost double the 13.7% share BA2 garnered just a week before. And back during the last week of February, BA.2 only made up 7.1% of cases.
As always, BA.2 is more prevalent in some parts of the country than others, which you can see on the CDC’s NowCast map here. Current areas where BA.2 has a foothold higher than the U.S. average include the Northeast, where caseloads are as high as 39%; California, where cases are at 27.7%; and the Northwest, where cases have hit 26.2%.
However, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has told ABC News station KGTV that it is expected BA.2 will eventually become the dominant variant everywhere in the United States.