New COVID subvariant leading to increase in cases, but expert says it’s not as severe

Cases of the omicron sub-variant BA-2 were reported in Florida this week.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says Florida saw a 16% increase in COVID-19 cases in the week ending on Thursday.

Some coalitions against the virus say it’s still infecting some groups at higher rates.

The Black Coalition Against COVID released data this week saying hospitalization rates for black Americans peaked at the highest it’s been since the start of the pandemic.

An infectious disease expert said this subvariant isn’t showing to be a more severe version of the virus, which is good news for everyone.

More than 200 million people in the US are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Reports say this is a big help in fighting future forms of the virus, such as the omicron subvariant BA2.

Dr. Mohammed Reza says the rate of infection is low across the state.

“In terms of the number of people that we’re seeing, daily cases is about 4.2 per 100,000,” Reza said. “And that was in the hundreds couple of months ago, just not that long ago. So we’re on the down peak right now of this whole omicron variant infection.”

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Reza said it’s still important to be cautious, to wear a mask when necessary, wash and sanitize your hands often, and get vaccinated.

Hospitalization rates have been low with this variant.

This is good news, but some demographics may respond differently to variants.

The Black Coalition Against COVID released a two-year assessment saying hospitalization rates for black Americans in January were the highest it’s been since the start of the pandemic.

This was before BA-2 was identified as an omicron subvariant.

Cases and hospitalizations were significantly higher compared to white Americans.

“This is a thing that we’ve seen with other viruses, as we saw with COVID,” Reza said. “More so initially during the initial surges of the pandemic, so right now across the board, the numbers are a lot lower, but getting people to get vaccinated if they’re at higher risk, getting people to use those precautions as preventative measures that we know now that work is really the utmost importance.”

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Reza encourages everyone to be vigilant against the virus in all its forms, and that people will likely need vaccinations on a yearly basis as we do the flu vaccine.

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