This is a COVID update, and I’ll discuss the emergence of BA.4 and BA.5 in the US.
New daily cases have peaked in the US, California, and San Diego. We have yet to see a sustained increase in deaths due to the new BA.2 variant in any of these regions. While new cases have not really started to decrease, the numbers have definitely peaked.
BA.4 and BA.5 in the US: I commented on May 24th about the new BA.4 and BA.5 variants. At that time, the CDC was not reporting these variants in the US. The new CDC bar graph of variants now shows that approximately 20% of the SARS-2 virus in the US now from BA.4 and BA.5.
Will we have another peak? Maybe. These variants may have arisen in South Africa, and the BA.4 and BA.5 peak has already come and gone there. The peak was much smaller than the original Omicron peak, and generated even fewer deaths. South Africa did not experience a BA.2 wave of Omicron cases.
These new variants appear to follow the tendency for new viruses to be more infectious and less pathogenic (disease causing) than earlier ones. So we may see a shoulder to our current peak, but we won’t likely see significantly more deaths. Obviously, I’m using “significantly” in a cold, statistical sense here.
A negative trait of the BA.4 and BA.5 are that they are even less responsive to vaccination than previous Omicron variants. So vaccination is not likely to help much against infection. Reinfection after previous infections with Delta and earlier versions appears to be more likely.
I haven’t seen much in our popular media about these new variants. The only commentator who has discussed these new variants significantly is John Campbell.
If SARS-2 continues to become more infectious and less pathogenic, it may become part of the background, like a cold. I still don’t think it will last forever. I think it will eventually burn itself out.
A note on BA.2: The BA.2 variant is significantly different from the BA.1 variants. Some scientists are now saying that the BA.2 variants should not have been considered an Omicron variant, and should have gotten their own Greek letter designation. The next letter is Pi. Maybe they would have skipped this one to avoid confusion at Marie Calendars!
“No, I would not like some Pi.”
Don’t fear, but be smart,