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The BA.2 subvariant of the omicron variant continues to rapidly spread throughout the U.S., now accounting for about 72 percent of all new Covid-19 cases, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new CDC estimate is up from about 55 percent a week ago, when the subvariant, which is thought to be more contagious than the original strain of omicron, became the dominant variant of the coronavirus circulating in the country.
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Despite its spread, health experts see no cause for alarm in the U.S.
That’s because there is no indication the subvariant is more severe than the original omicron strain and because the high level of immunity in the country from vaccines and previous infections is unlikely to make it a major threat.
“I would not be hugely concerned about BA.2,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington and the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
A sudden rise in BA.2 cases in Europe and other parts of the world last month raised concerns among some health experts and officials that the U.S. could experience a troubling rise in cases, as well.
However, Covid case counts remain low in the country — as of Tuesday, the seven-day average of Covid cases is at about 29,000, down by 19 percent from two weeks ago, according to an NBC News tally.
Case numbers are increasing in a handful of counties, but most people in the country live in areas with low community spread, the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said at a news briefing Tuesday. Cases counts are ticking upward in counties in the Northeast, in particular.
She encouraged everyone to stay up to date on their Covid vaccinations.
Last week, Walensky signed off on a second booster dose of the Covid vaccines for people 50 and older, four months after their first boosters.
Créditos: Comité científico Covid