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What You Need to Know About Omicron’s BA.2 Variant

May 12, 2022

Covid 19

What You Need to Know About Omicron’s BA.2 Variant

A new omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, BA.2, is spreading quickly across the US, creating another surge in COVID-19 cases. According to a WHO report, this variant is classified as a “variant of concern” due to its rapid spreading capacity, severity, and dominance in vaccine breakthrough infections. Though BA.2 variant shares many genetic similarities with BA.1, it is 30-50% more contagious than BA.1 variant.

Why Is Omicron BA.2 Variant Considered More Severe?

BA.2 variant has caused concern because of its higher pathogenicity (greater ability to infect and cause disease) and transmissibility. Between April 16 and 23, 2022, COVID-19 cases caused by the BA.2 variant in the US significantly increased from 16.7% to 26.6%. A virologist created a synthetic version of the BA.2 variant in the lab and found that it grows rapidly in cells lining the nasal passage and has a greater chance of attacking the lungs. Another study reveals that the severity of a BA.2 infection in unvaccinated people of any age is higher than it was for the original SARS-CoV-2 variant.

Related: COVID-19 Vaccine: Preparation, Precautions, and Key Information

How to Stay Protected Against the Omicron BA.2 Variant

Despite the rise in cases and the severity of the omicron BA.2 variant, you can take preventative measures to reduce your chances of getting infected or spreading the infection to others. These include

  • Practice Social Distancing

To lower your chance of cross-infection, follow social distancing (staying 6 feet away from others) and avoid crowded places, such as markets, public gatherings, bars, nightclubs, etc.

  • Wear Masks

Wear masks whenever you are in public places or high transmission indoor settings. A mask will protect you from contracting the virus while preventing the spread of infection to others if you are an asymptomatic COVID carrier. You can wear KN95 or N95 masks for greater protection.

  • Get Vaccinated

According to WHO, the omicron variant is highly contagious for those who have not been vaccinated. Though the variant has vaccine-evasive properties, a study reveals that vaccinated people with a breakthrough infection do not transmit the infection as easily as the unvaccinated ones. Therefore, get vaccinated to stay protected against BA.2 variant. The CDC recommends everyone aged 12 and above get booster shots (to further maximize protection) after completing their primary vaccination.

Related: COVID-19 Antibody Test: What You Need to Know

  • Get Tested for COVID-19

Symptoms of the new COVID strain are similar to other variants, such as body aches, fever or chills, cough, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, difficulty in breathing, runny nose, etc. With the flu and cold also widely present, it’s critical to get a COVID-19 test if you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are unsure about your condition. At MI Express Care, we offer Rapid PCR COVID-19 tests and Monoclonal Antibody (MAB) Infusion for high-risk individuals to reduce their risk of hospitalization. We can also prescribe paxlovid directly from our office for qualified candidates. Whether you are looking for a COVID-19 test or MAB infusion treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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