BA.2, which has caused the spikes in Australia, Asia and central Europe, is more contagious and can cause reinfections
The BA.2 lineage of the omicron variant is beginning to become a great concern for health authorities. The cause of the new wave of contagions that grips the countries of central Europe, Asia or Australia, the so-called ‘stealth’ omicron is also spreading at great speed in Spain and already accounts for between 19% and 75% of the new infections, depending on the autonomous communities, according to the latest update of the variant report, made public this Monday by the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES).
Last week it represented between 2% and 49% of the cases, which speaks of its speed of transmission, so that “the probability that BA.2 prevails over the rest of the circulating lineages at this time is considered very high », according to technicians from the Ministry of Health.
In Extremadura, the ‘stealth’ variant has gone from 21.8% last week to 28.7 and the BA.1 has dropped from 91% to 69.6.
The alert for the consequences of the expansion of this lineage is spreading throughout the world. BA.2 is more dangerous than the other omicron lineages because it is more contagious than BA.1 and because people who have already passed omicron can, in some cases, be reinfected, since the immunity provided by a previous infection with BA. 1 or with other omicron lineages is not complete.
In principle, BA.2 has rates of hospitalization and serious illness similar to BA.1, but the fact that its contagiousness is greater can put the most vulnerable population at risk, acknowledge the Health technicians in Spain. What ómicron has done, which, adding up all its lineages, causes 99% of infections, is to put an end to Delta.
National governments are taking action against this new uptick in covid-19. In the United Kingdom, the Government of Boris Johnson has approved a new booster dose for those over 75 years of age in order to stop the new lineage, as is the case in Australia, where the records of infections of the pandemic are now being registered. The outbreaks that have caused the closure of cities in China are also due in part to this lineage, which in South Africa has represented another spike in infections in recent weeks.
In Germany, the Ministry of Health warns that the situation is “critical” while the accumulated incidence in Austria reaches 4,600 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, figures not seen at any time during the pandemic. “BA.2 can prolong the omicron wave,” Paul Elliott, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, warned last Thursday.
In a special report, the CCAES asked on Friday “to maintain non-pharmacological prevention and control measures [mascarillas y distancia de seguridad] in situations and areas in which they are aimed at protecting the most vulnerable population”, in addition to continuing to advance in vaccination. 21% of those over 40 years of age have not yet received the booster dose.
Germany, Australia, Austria, China, Spain, Extremadura, London, United Kingdom, South Africa, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Vaccines, Vaccines covid-19, Omicron (CoronaVirus SARS-CoV-2 variant)
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.