Prevalence of BA.2 subvariant rises: 3 COVID-19 updates

A sublineage of the BA.2 omicron subvariant — BA.2.12.1 — is gaining traction in the U.S., with the latest CDC variant proportion estimates showing the strain now accounts for 19 percent of the nation's COVID-19 cases. 

BA.2 remains the dominant U.S. strain, accounting for 74.4 percent of cases for the week ending April 16, the latest estimates available. 

Two more notes:

1. BA.2.12.1 is one of the BA.2 subvariants circulating in New York. State health officials said this strain, along with another BA.2 offshoot called BA.2.12, are likely factors in New York's rising cases. BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1 are estimated to have a 23 percent to 27 percent growth advantage over BA.2, already more transmissible than the original omicron strain. As of April 13, health officials said data suggests the BA.2 sublineages collectively account for more than 90 percent of cases in the state. There is currently no evidence the BA.2 sublineages cause more severe illness. 

2. Modeling from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic projects daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. will increase nearly 94 percent from 32,381.6 on April 16 to 62,693 by April 30. The nation's daily average for new cases on April 19 was 41,989, a 47 percent increase from 14 days earlier, data from The New York Times shows. Meanwhile, hospitalizations and deaths remain down. 

 

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