The new COVID variant will spread rapidly in New Jersey. Here’s what you need to know about BA.2.

New COVID variants are spreading rapidly throughout New Jersey. First detected in the stateNew arrival data The show released this week.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the BA.2 mutant is becoming the predominant COVID strain in the region, with prevalence more than doubling in two weeks.

On Thursday, Governor Phil Murphy said he expects more cases in New Jersey due to the surge seen in parts of Asia and Europe. However, he said he did not expect to revive “universal safeguards mandated throughout the state.”

It is unclear how much BA.2 will affect New Jersey and whether it will be as serious as the previous strains.

BA.2 is considered a “subline” of the highly contagious Omicron variant called BA.1 that caused the surge that hit New Jersey from mid-December to mid-January.

BA.2 had a different gene sequence than BA.1 and was not easy to detect, so it was initially called a “stealth variant”.

more: These restaurants have overcome two years of uncertainty. So what’s next?

Not in vain: Why NJ sewage inspection is key to identifying future waves of COVID

How fast is BA.2 spreading in New Jersey?

Because it was First detected in New Jersey In late January, BA.2 spread rapidly in 6 weeks.

It accounted for 39% of COVID shares in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands for the week ending March 12. This has increased significantly from the previous week. according to For the latest CDC data.

  • February 12: 3.7%

  • February 19: 8%

  • February 26: 16.7%

  • March 5: 25.4%

  • March 12: 39%

The latest variant of New Jersey report Shows BA.2 at only 9.1%, but the data is out of date. We are using the test results for 4 weeks until February 26th.

Recent News: Murphy lifts public health emergencies when the state exceeds 30,000 deaths

Will BA.2 spread faster? Is it more deadly?

Studies have shown that BA.2 is “essentially more contagious” than Omicron BA.1. according to To the World Health Organization.

What is not yet known is whether BA.2 caused the same serious illness as Omicron BA.1 and then plummeted after a month of surges in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. How is it?

Omicron BA.1 was thought to be milder than both the original strain of COVID and the delta type, but more than 2,000 New Jerseys. Died During that short peak.

“It’s often not known until it’s too late,” said Stephanie Silvera, an infectious disease specialist at Montclair State University. “That was a problem in managing these surges. Death is one of the last effects we see.”

Surviving COVID: Cafe Amici chef and owner Arthur Toufayan and his restaurant

Is New Jersey influenced by anything?

So far, BA.2 does not seem to have a noticeable impact. However, public health officials say they are closely monitoring the spread.

Key COVID indicators such as cases, hospitalizations, and mortality continue to decline almost every day, fluctuating around the levels last seen in July before the delta variant surge.

As of Tuesday night, COVID admissions were 438, intensive care unit admissions were 81, and ventilator use was 49, a decrease of more than 90% from the peak of Omicron in mid-January.

Only 559 new cases were reported on Tuesday, but Omicron peaked and a record number of tests were performed during and after the holiday season, with a record high of 33,459 on January 7. It was a matter.

news: Phil Murphy has announced that it will not raise fares for NJ Transit until at least 2023. Free Wi-Fi on the bus

The number of fatalities reported daily fluctuated between 80 and 110 on most days of January, and was in the low double and single digits in March.

Due to the plunge indicators, Murphy has lifted the obligations of masks in the remaining two states in schools and public buildings.

However, New Jersey health officials are not sure what BA.2 will do.

Dr. Tina Tan, a state epidemiologist, said, “To predict how COVID-19 mutants and other new respiratory viruses will evolve over time and their specific effects. Is difficult. ” “And it is difficult to predict whether the BA.2 surge will lead to an increase in hospitalizations or deaths at this time.”

Are vaccines and innate immunity effective against BA.2.

The vaccine has been shown to be equally effective against BA.2 and Omicron BA.1. according to To British scientists. That is, vaccines may not be able to prevent infection, but they work well to prevent serious illness.

If you are infected with Omicron BA.1, you may also be well protected against BA.2. according to To the World Health Organization.

Reinfection is possible, but studies suggest that infection with BA.1 “provides strong protection” against reinfection with BA.2.

Hundreds of thousands of infections in Omicron’s booming New Jersey “suggest that many residents may have some protection against BA.2,” Tan said. Said.

How does New Jersey compare to the rest of the United States?

Like almost all COVID variants, New Jersey and other northeastern regions were first attacked in BA.2 and are now outpacing the rest of the United States.

In Region 2 of the CDC (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands), 39% of COVID cases are BA.2 strains, with an average of 23.1% in the United States.

New England lags behind by 38.6%. California, Nevada and Arizona are in third place with 27.7%.

Percentage of BA.2 variants in various sections of the United States as of March 12. Region 2, including New Jersey and New York, leads the nation with BA.2 spreads.

Percentage of BA.2 variants in various sections of the United States as of March 12. Region 2, including New Jersey and New York, leads the nation with BA.2 spreads.

What’s happening in other parts of the globe?

Case numbers have increased in the last few weeks in parts of Europe and Asia, but it is not yet clear how responsible BA.2 is.

The UK, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Italy were on the rise last week. Many European countries are beginning to treat the virus as part of their daily lives and are refraining from shutting it down completely.

China ordered the blockade of residents of Changchun, closed schools in Shanghai, and urged the people to stay in Beijing last weekend in a new surge.

Hong Kong has seen its worst surge in recent weeks after limiting the spread of COVID for almost two years with some of the world’s toughest health obligations. In Hong Kong, more than 700,000 COVID-19 infections and about 4,200 deaths have been reported, most of which have occurred in the last three weeks. Reuters..

Will other variants appear?

As seen in Delta and Omicron, the more times the virus replicates, the more likely it is that it will have to mutate into a stronger strain.

As a result, some public health experts are worried about the recent surge in Asia and elsewhere.

“I’m more worried that the pure biomass of the virus in these places that are currently experiencing the Omicron Rogue will lead to the emergence of new strains that we haven’t yet experienced in the United States,” said the infected. Said Daniel Parker. Illness expert at the University of California, Irvine. “It can certainly lead to spikes, as seen in Delta and Omicron.”

Read next: Murphy delays COVID booster obligations to New Jersey healthcare workers and prison guards

This article contains information about USA Today.

Clarification: As the CDC received more data, some of the percentages of BA.2 prevalence in Region 2 have changed.

Scott Fallon has been taking up the COVID-19 pandemic since its onset in March 2020. Subscribe or activate your digital account now for unlimited access to the latest news about the pandemic impact on New Jersey.

Email: [email protected]

twitter: @newsfallon

This article was originally posted on BA.2 Variant: What You Need to Know About the New Omicron COVID Strain