Fall is coming, and as we prepare for more time indoors, it’s important to be aware of new COVID-19 variants and how we can keep each other safe.
Studies about the new BA.5 variant are still being conducted, but here’s what we know.
What Do We Know About the BA.5 Variant?
In early July 2022, a strain called BA.5 was detected in the United States and has become the current most dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
With at-home rapid tests more readily available, it’s difficult to get an exact count of how many people are infected, but BA.5 is causing more than 80% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
How is BA.5 Different From Other Omicron Variants?
BA.5 is more infectious than previous omicron variants and has a higher reinfection rate. This variant can easily evade immunity from earlier infections and vaccines. Thus far, BA.5 does not appear to lead to more severe illness. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) says there haven’t been an increase in intensive care unit (ICU) admissions.
How to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones from BA.5
New variants are a natural progression of viruses like COVID-19. If there is a COVID-19 outbreak, whether it be in the U.S. or another country, new variants will continue to emerge.
The best way to prevent new variants is to get vaccinated and get a booster shot when eligible. Fully vaccinated individuals decrease the opportunity for the virus to spread and mutate, and minimize their severity of symptoms if infected.
Don’t forget to continue to wear a mask when indoors and socially distance when possible to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. For updates on anything related to coronavirus, visit our Coronavirus Resource Hub.