Internationally Dominant BA.2 Omicron Variant with More Transmissibility

“We are seeing an increase in the proportion of BA.2 that is detected,” Warned the World Health Organization’s technical lead on Covid-19, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove. “Of the sequences that are available, about 75% are BA.2 and 25% of those are BA.1,”Which is the original Omicron variety.

WHO published a report about BA.2 just one month ago. It showed that 21.5% of all Omicron cases in the world were caused by the strain. That means in one month, it’s grown more than 2X, displacing BA.1 as is did so.

“Studies have shown that BA.2 has a growth advantage over BA.1,” According toA WHO analysis suggests that it lodges higher within the respiratory tract and can cause infection from light exposures. The “difference in transmissibility appears to be much smaller than, for example, the difference between BA.1 and Delta,”The WHO report is not a disadvantage, however.

The U.S. has seen sequences of BA.2 increase in frequency and now account for 23% of all positive sequences.

What’s more, the rise in BA.2 cases is happening across the U.S. The variant is now responsible for 27% of all sequences across California, Arizona, and Nevada, according to CDC data (California does not distinguish between BA.1 or BA.2 in its state data that are publicly available). In the Southeast, it’s only 12%, while in the Northeast, it’s above 38%.

The Washington Post ReportsThat “about a dozen nations are seeing spikes in coronavirus infections caused by BA.2,”Particularly in Western Europe, and more specifically in Germany where it was seen, the company saw its highest everYesterday was the 7-day average of cases. There are concerns that another wave is brewing in America due to the increase in cases. Despite the decline in cases here, U.S. Covid wave have often followed European waves by 2-3 weeks.

“However, the amount of testing that is happening worldwide is dropping substantially,” said WHO’s Dr. Van Kerkhove. “So our ability to track this virus, our ability to track BA.2 is compromised because testing is reduced, and you can’t sequence those who you don’t test.”

Bloomberg is a good choice. AnalysisCDC Wastewater Data may provide better insight. It was found that about 33% US sites were monitored had seen an increase in Covid levels during the period March 1-10. That’s double what it was during the same period in February.

Wastewater is often the earliest — and most accurate — indicator of a coming surge because it does not rely on people deciding to take tests, and it covers the entire population serviced by each sewage system. After a few weeks, rising case numbers are usually accompanied by rising wastewater data.

“While wastewater levels are generally very low across the board, we are seeing an uptick of sites reporting an increase,” Amy Kirby, who heads the CDC’s wastewater monitoring program, In a statement “These bumps may simply reflect minor increase from very low levels to still low levels.”

However, wastewater is not a complete data source. Many areas of the country don’t have wastewater analysis for Covid-19. This could indicate a bigger problem, if there is indeed a rising wave Stateside.

“We need a very strong surveillance system around the world for Covid-19,”This week, Dr. Van Kerkhove spoke. “Despite all of the challenges we are facing, we still need to maintain testing. We still need to maintain robust sequencing and making sure that we have good geographic representation of the sequences that are shared so that we can really track this virus in real time.”

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