Even though it’s beginning to feel like normal again, the world is still not done with the Coronavirus pandemic as an omicron “subvariant” is rapidly spreading across New York City just as mask and vaccine mandates are being relaxed.
According to The Gothamist, the omicron variant known as BA.2 is becoming the dominate strain going around New York City and studies show that it spreads 30% faster than the original BA.1. Apparently the BA.2 strain has been doubling statewide every two weeks and accounts for one in every 10 sequenced cases. Luckily it’s not as lethal as the Delta variant or even the original Rona virus that caused the world to come to a standstill in 2020. Still, even with millions of New Yorkers being vaccinated, the omicron variant managed to infect 2.2 million residents since it’s discovery in November.
Still even though the BA.2 omicron offshoot is more infections, health experts don’t expect it to cause much harm to society due to high vaccinations rates and because we’re just getting over the most recent omicron wave.
“I don’t think it means a lot because there’s pretty good cross-immunity between BA.1 and BA.2 and because the omicron wave was so recent,” said Dr. Bruce Farber, chief of public health and epidemiology at Northwell Health and the chief of infectious diseases at North Shore University Hospital and LIJ Medical Center. “People clearly have good immunity. It’s very good immunity for 90 days. It’s probably decent immunity for six months.”
Unfortunately the unvaccinated remain in play for the BA.2 to wreak havoc on and with only 33% of New Yorkers haven gotten their booster shots, their antibodies may not be up to par either. And though the omicron variants aren’t as lethal as the Delta variant, studies show it is three to five times more deadly than the pre-delta variants that came after the OG Rona and the surge isn’t over just yet.
“Spread of the BA.2 subvariant could extend the winter surge,” said Bruce Y. Lee, a public health policy expert at CUNY and executive director of the research group PHICOR. “We know that cases have been going down, but the cases are still happening at a reasonably high level right now.”
Keep in mind that the Rona’s mutated quite a few times and the next one could be more contagious and more lethal than it’s predecessor. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that but we’ll have to wait and see.
Be careful out there, y’all.