BA.2 now makes up 86% of new US cases: 5 COVID-19 updates

The BA.2 omicron subvariant accounts for 85.9 percent of new cases in the U.S., according to the CDC's latest estimates for the week ending April 9. 

Four more COVID-19 updates: 

1. Cases and hospitalizations: While hospitalizations continue to decline, cases have increased nationwide. The daily average for new cases on April 11 was 32,224, marking a 10 percent increase from two weeks before, data from The New York Times shows. 

During an April 11 interview on NBC's "Today" show, the White House's new COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha, MD, said he's not "overly concerned right now" about case numbers rising. 

"We were expecting this because we saw this in Europe a few weeks ago, but the good news is we are coming off so very low infection numbers. Hospitalizations are the lowest they've been in the entire pandemic," Dr. Jha said. "So we've got to watch this very carefully. Obviously I never like to see infections rising and we've got to be careful, but I don't think this is a moment where we have to be excessively concerned." 

2. Projections: Daily cases are projected to increase 54.4 percent nationwide from 27,415.7 on April 9 to 42,342 by April 23, according to modeling from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic. Health experts have said a likely rise in infections driven by BA.2 may not drive up hospitalizations because of immunity from past infection or vaccination. 

3. Mitigation measures: Remarks from public health experts and officials suggest the nation has reached a stage in the pandemic where self-determination of risk is needed based on the level of COVID-19 in their county. 

"This is not going to be eradicated, and it's not going to be eliminated," Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC News. "And what's going to happen is that we're going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take in going to indoor dinners and in going to functions." 

4. Variants: The World Health Organization on April 11 said it is monitoring two new "sister variants" of the original omicron strain, BA.4 and BA.5, both of which were first detected in South Africa. Scientists are still working to determine the transmissibility and potential for severe disease from the strains.

 

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