UCHealth: Reality Check, Omicron BA.2 Variant – & Variants Still to Come!

UCHealth: Reality Check, Omicron BA.2 Variant – & Variants Still to Come!

The following article, titled “Is the omicron BA.2 variant a concern?,” was written by Katie Kerwin McCrimmon for UCHealth Today. The story should answer all your questions about the latest incarnation of the virus – and its inevitable offspring.

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Dr. Thomas Campbell is an expert on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. He shared his expertise about the BA.2 variant and whether you should be concerned about it. Photo: UCHealth.

The BA.2 variant, the newest COVID-19 strain, continues to account for a high percentage of cases in the United States. Is BA.2 a concern? And how worried should you be?

We consulted with infectious disease and COVID-19 expert, Dr. Thomas Campbell, to answer your questions about BA.2 and other variants.

Campbell ran clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus. He is also a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

We’re all ready for the pandemic to be over, but now we’re hearing about the new BA.2 variant. What is BA.2 and should I be concerned?

“The new BA.2 variant is another version of omicron. It behaves very much like the previous version of omicron,” Campbell said.

And, yes, unfortunately we should be concerned about BA.2, he said.

That’s because it’s even more infectious than the original omicron variant, which itself was far more infectious than delta and previous COVID-19 variants.

“Each iteration of these variants is more and more infectious,” Campbell said.

While the original omicron variant has not caused people to get as severely ill as the delta variant, BA.2 could be dangerous for unvaccinated people, vulnerable older people whose antibodies have declined and people who are immunocompromised.

Campbell says we’re now in a “calm in the storm,” with lower hospitalizations and deaths. But he predicts that this relatively quiet time won’t last. And sadly, the pandemic is not over yet.

“We will likely see a spike in cases again, but I hope that we don’t see a big spike in hospitalizations,” Campbell said.

Why is BA.2 a concern if many people are vaccinated or have previously gotten sick with COVID-19?..

Continue reading here for answers to questions such as:

If I had COVID-19 already, but am not vaccinated, am I at risk of getting BA.2?

Who is at the greatest risk if they get COVID-19 from BA.2 or any other variant?

Who is at intermediate risk if they get BA.2?

What should people do to stay well?

Are you concerned that mask mandates have been lifted and few precautions are in place now as the new BA.2 variant is spreading quickly?

How long do immunities to COVID-19 last?

Should people who had omicron be concerned about an infection from BA.2?

What about additional booster shots? Will healthy people need a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose and will immunocompromised people need an extra booster as well?

After BA.2, will we see additional variants that cause COVID-19?

How do new COVID-19 variants develop?

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