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Stealth Omicron Subvariant to Become Dominant Strain; Experts Are Not Overly Concerned


March 21, 2022

The COVID-19 Omicron strain subvariant, BA.2, known as stealth Omicron, is on track to overtake the original Omicron variant as the dominant strain in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BA.2 currently accounts for 39% of all cases in New Jersey and New York, with its share of cases expected to rise. BA.2 cases have doubled since the first week in March.

As quoted on nj.com, Dr. Suraj Saggar, Chief of Infectious Disease at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, was quoted saying, "At this point, in about four weeks, it will (make up) the majority of all omicron cases in the country."

Experts are certainly keeping an eye on BA.2 case numbers, although they generally don't see the recent increase in case share as a cause for concern. Stephanie Silvera, an infectious disease expert and professor at Montclair State University, was quoted saying, "I think we'll see an increase in cases . . . But I don't think we're going to see a surge in the same way we saw a surge with omicron, where we were having cases in the ten thousands and above."

Governor Phil Murphy and state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli released a joint statement on Thursday stating, "We are closely watching the recent rise in global COVID numbers and, given both previous trends with regard to spread and our location as an international nexus for travel and trade, we do anticipate that we will eventually see an increase in the number of cases in New Jersey. We will continue to closely monitor virus activity in the state, in particular for impacts to our health care system." The statement continued, saying, "However, at this time, we do not anticipate any need to reinstate universal statewide mandated protective measures."

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