Omicron variant BA.2 now dominates across Europe, USA

25th March 2022 / United Kingdom
Omicron variant BA.2 now dominates across Europe, USA

Experts have warned that people may mistake the new Covid BA.2 variant symptoms as common allergies as cases surge across Europe and America.

BA.2 has several key mutations, with the most important of those occurring in the spike protein that studs the outside of the virus. These mutations are shared with the original Omicron, but BA.2 also has additional genetic changes not seen in the initial version.

Mainland China is now battling its worst Covid-19 outbreak since early 2020, local governments increasingly say the new omicron BA.2 variant is to blame.

In America, the same is occurring. Washington’s NDTV reports that – “Covid is making its latest comeback in parts of the northeastern United States as the BA.2 coronavirus variant becomes dominant in the country, officials said Wednesday, while urging Congress to pass new funding or risk the supply of future treatments and vaccines.

Covid cases have continued to rise in the UK, with an estimated one in every 20 people infected, figures from the Office for National Statistics said last week. Levels of COVID-related pupil absences in state schools in England have more than tripled. Concerns are also over the number of absent teachers, with some 23% of English state schools seeing more than 15% of their teachers and school leaders away from school last week, up from 11% on 3 March.

In Europe, the BA.2 variant has quickly established itself. The FT reports that – “Less than two months after forecasting “a long period of tranquillity” for Europe in the pandemic, the World Health Organization’s regional chief warned this week that much of the continent was in the grip of a fresh Covid-19 surge after “brutally” sweeping away restrictions. Hans Kluge’s volte-face was spurred by the rapid spread of a highly infectious version of the Omicron coronavirus variant, known as BA.2. The strain has taken hold as people stop wearing masks and socialise more, prompting a jump in infections in at least 18 European countries, according to the WHO. Experts predict North America will be hit by a similar resurgence within weeks, with some warning that sluggish vaccination and booster uptake among older groups in the US could leave it exposed to a bigger wave of hospitalisations than its European peers. The Omicron sub-variant is estimated to be about 30 per cent more infectious than the original version but analysis by the UK Health Security Agency shows BA.2 cases are no more likely to result in hospitalisation than the original Omicron strain.”



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