Mar 29, 2022 - Health

Omicron subvariant BA.2 now most dominant COVID strain in U.S.

Photo of a nurse looking at a patient lying in a hospital bed
A clinician cares for a patient in the Emergency Department at Providence St. Mary Medical Center on March 11, 2022 in Apple Valley, California. Photo: Mario Tama via Getty Images

The Omicron subvariant BA.2 accounts for a little over half of all new COVID cases in the U.S. as of Saturday, according to new estimates published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The big picture: BA.2 is now the dominant global variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) said last week. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky previously warned it would only be a matter of time before BA.2 became dominant in the U.S. as well.

  • "While it is slightly more transmissible than the original Omicron, our vaccines work, our boosters work, and it does not indicate more severe disease than the original Omicron," she said at a White House press briefing.
  • "So those tools are going to be key in protecting ourselves and our communities against BA.2."
  • NIAID director Anthony Fauci has also said that the U.S. will likely experience an increase in COVID-19 cases from BA.2 but not necessarily a significant uptick in hospitalizations or deaths.

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