Omicron subvariant BA.2 now present in all Hawaii counties

The omicron subvariant, BA.2, now makes up roughly 13% of the variants circulating in Hawaii, in keeping with the newest report from the state Department of Health State Laboratories Division.

The variant report, posted on Thursday, confirmed 111 instances of BA.2 detected by entire genome sequencing in samples collected from Jan. 6 to March 3. The 111 instances are greater than twice the quantity detected within the final variant report, 54, launched on March 1.

The subvariant was first detected in Hawaii on Jan. 28 with eight instances, which elevated to 29 in mid-February.

The BA.2 subvariant, which consultants say is extra transmissible however doesn’t trigger extra extreme sickness than the unique pressure of omicron, is driving a rise in coronavirus instances in Europe and Asia.

Dr. Anthony Fauci mentioned in Bloomberg News right now that he expects the U.S. to see an uptick in instances, as has been seen in European nations, significantly the United Kingdom, however not a full-scale surge.

BA.2 at present makes up about 23% of COVID-19 infections within the U.S., in keeping with the newest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from 13.7% earlier this month.

In Hawaii, the DOH variant report confirms the presence of BA.2 in Honolulu County, Maui County, and Hawaii County by way of sequencing of check samples collected statewide from January by March 3. It didn’t verify any instances for Kauai County.

Kauai County deputy well being district officer Lauren Guest, nonetheless, mentioned throughout a briefing right now that though BA.2 has not been detected on the Garden isle by way of particular person COVID-19 case specimens, it has been discovered within the wastewater there.

“BA.2 has been detected in Kauai wastewater,” mentioned Guest. “That means that the BA.2 subvariant is already here on Kauai. It has been detected in all Hawaii counties and many places on the mainland.”

DOH is intently following developments in BA.2, she mentioned, although it’s not but identified how the variant might have an effect on case charges or hospitalizations in Hawaii’s communities.

Both Fauci, chief medical advisor to the U.S. President, and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy are urging Congress to proceed funding COVID-19 aid measures in preparation for one more wave.

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