BA.2: Be wary of this contagious Omicron subvariant

Share on facebook
Share on twitter

The weather’s improving. Fewer people are wearing masks. Restaurants and airplanes are full. Feels like we’re back to normal, right?

But COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, and neither should your guard against it.

Despite how weary you may be of the virus, or how ready you are to continue a pre-pandemic life, a looming subvariant could shuffle our daily lives once again.

It’s called “BA.2,” a highly transmissible Omicron subvariant of COVID-19 that is rapidly spreading across the country. It has surged in several places in Europe and has accounted for 72% of all new COVID-19 cases in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Omicron BA.2 and BA.1 (the previous subvariant) are almost identical, but BA.2 is twice as contagious. That means it spreads easier and faster than previous variants.

Here’s the good news:

  • Current vaccines will protect you against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to the BA.2 subvariant and all Omicron variants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The antiviral drugs Paxlovid and molnupiravir, along with bebtelovimab  (a monoclonal antibody treatment) have been effective against severe disease from both BA.1 and BA.2 when taken soon after the diagnosis. So has Evusheld, which is designed to protect people who have not yet been infected.

How to protect yourself against BA.2:

  • Getting vaccinated and booster shots remains the best public health measure to protect you from any form of COVID-19. It also reduces the likelihood of new variants emerging. 
  • Wearing a mask will offer protection against all variants. COVID-19 is still present in America, and we should remain vigilant. The CDC recommends wearing a mask in public indoor settings if you’re in an area of substantial or high community transmission, regardless of your vaccination status.

As with previous COVID-19 variants, we should all remain diligent to increase our community’s overall health. The following tips worked before COVID-19 existed and are suggested for everyone, particularly if you’re immuno-compromised.

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Socially distance, at least six feet apart.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect.

To learn more about StarMed Healtchare’s testing, vaccines and antibody therapy, and to schedule an appointment, visit starmed.care.