There are two new COVID-19 variants spreading across the United States: BA.4.6 and BA.2.75. Currently, BA.4.6 is about 1.8% of infections in California, according to Dr. Henning Ansorg, Public Health Officer for Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
“The best analogy for variance is really the sports arena. I always say, you know, a certain variant has to compete against newcomers and so if somebody is a little faster, a little better at running around the corner or something, they will eventually take over,” Dr. Ansorg said.
Over the summer, the U.S. experienced a COVID-19 peak with the BA.5 variant, which still comprises over 90% of cases in the United States, but even if you caught that variant, health officials say you could still catch BA.4.6 this fall.
“That's why the BA.4.6 is slowly picking up steam, especially more in the eastern part of the United States, is that it can bypass some immunity against it," Dr. Ansorg said, what adding that BA.5 cases are now declining.
“Even in the wastewater, we see the wastewater, there's a clear trend. We see less new hospitalizations, so there's a clear trend, at least in California, probably in the whole western United States for sure, that we're actually down,” he explained.
Dr. Ansorg adds that BA.5 is mutating, so we could see another version of that variant in the coming months.