New omicron variant, BA.2.12.1, beginning to spread in U.S.

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Posted at 11:09 AM, Apr 20, 2022

The CDC is now tracking another subvariant of omicron -- BA.2.12.1.

BA.2 is still the dominant variant in the U.S., but BA.2.12.1 now accounts for nearly 20% of all new COVID-19 infections in the country, marking a quick increase from the 11% of cases reported last week, according to CDC data.

BA.2.12.1 is outpacing BA.2, particularly in central New York state.

The New York State Health Department is now urging people in central New York and surrounding regions to take precautions, including getting vaccinated and boosted, and wearing a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Health officials there also believe this latest variant is up to 27% more transmissible than ba.2, which is already more infectious than the original omicron variant.

There is no evidence at this time that BA.2.12.1 causes more severe symptoms or disease.

Meanwhile, BA.2 infections are starting to slow down.

Last week, BA.2 was responsible for 74% of new COVID-19 infections, according to CDC data.

The previous week, it caused about 76% of coronavirus cases.