SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The BA.2 variant of COVID-19, also known as “Stealth omicron”, is now the dominant variant around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
But doctors say it is not the dominant variant here yet.
“We have repeatedly seen during the pandemic that Europe gets it first, and then we get it after a few weeks,” said UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.
“Is it more transferable? The answer is yes,” said Chin-Hong. “BA.2 is about 30 to 50 percent, depending on the data you look at, more transferable.”
Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody says they are already tracking BA.2 in their wastewater.
“In the northern parts of our county, the wastewater that we follow is this B2 genus, and then it becomes less prevalent when moving south. So not much in Gilroy, but quite a lot in Palo Alto, “Cody said.
But Cody says it does not cause problems for the county.
“Interestingly enough, it does not drive the levels up overall. I do not know why, but it is not. We follow this very closely, she says.
“It’s likely to affect people who have not received omicron because re-infection is possible, but it’s less likely,” Chin-Hong said.
Chin-Hong says that while there will be an increase in BA.2, it will not bring people’s lives to a standstill as long as you take advantage of the tools we now have available.
“Oral agents for early disease or monoclonal antibodies,” he said. “Take those tests and they stitch out of the closet.”
Dr. Chin-Hong says right now that he is more worried about future, more serious variants than he is about BA.2.