In keeping with a longstanding pattern of US COVID cases trailing the numbers out of Europe with a delay of a few weeks, infections stemming from the BA.2 omicron subvariant have continued to rise in recent days, Bloomberg reports.
While data released by the CDC and Johns Hopkins don’t go into much detail about the variant type, a San Diego-based genomics firm called Helix has been watching the BA.2 variant since it first popped up in the US in early January. Although it was initially slow to take hold, Helix now estimates that 50% to 70% of all newly confirmed COVID cases across the US have been caused by BA.2.
Helix’s variant surveillance research is funded by the CDC and its data is one of many inputs that the agency takes into account when creating its weekly “Nowcast” estimates.
As we reported earlier this month, Western Europe has already seen an uptick in new cases caused by the variant. In the UK, BA.2 surpassed the 50% mark of overall cases. Although so far, the variant appears to be no more severe than the initial omicron strain. Still, there’s concern about its ability to reinfect people, as well as potential links to “long COVID”.
Overall, the number of newly confirmed cases has continued to decline in the US, but experts (including Dr. Fauci) have warned that the decline could easily reverse, leading to a “bump” in new cases as COVID restrictions are largely abandoned.
Also, cases have been rising in population centers like NYC, a trend that sewage data predicted weeks ago.
If you have been waiting to get your booster shot…
NOW is the time to get it. Here’s why:
Covid cases in NYC over past week (7-day avg)
* Sun 647
* Mon 662
* Tue 815
* Wed 882
* Thu 905
* Fri 900
* Today 1,048https://t.co/vpCxAcY4FU
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) March 19, 2022
The CDC has yet to update its variant surveillance data for this past week, but the agency has reported BA.2 nearly doubling in prevalence each week since early February.
Still, cases in the US remain well below the numbers in Hong Kong, which has seen its death rate from the virus soar since the start of the year as the city struggles with its worst outbreak since the virus first emerged.