Coastal Health District director discusses new Omicron sub-variant

Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 1:41 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 21, 2022 at 6:06 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Health experts say the Omicron surge does appear to be on the decline and cases and hospitalizations are as well, but they are keeping a close eye on a new sub-variant of Omicron.

Dr. Lawton Davis, the director of the Coastal Health District, said BA.2 is more contagious, and he’s concerned about how fast it’s spreading.

Dr. Davis said BA.2 is a strain of the highly contagious Omicron variant. He says it appears that BA.2 is about 1.4 times more contagious, more resistant to monoclonal antibody therapy and the antibody response we get from vaccines.

He says right now it’s spreading rapidly in other countries and is also already in the United States. Dr. Davis says as of now it accounts for up to 4 percent of cases in the United States and at least 2 percent of cases here in Georgia. He says its severity is still in question.

“I don’t think we can yet say that overall, it is going to definitely cause a more severe illness. I think we’re still out on that. It still appears that if you are fully vaccinated and boosted, you’re still pretty well protected against serious illness,” Dr. Davis said.

Dr. Davis says there is already chatter that people are getting Omicron and/or BA.2 twice or even multiple times. He says the best protection is to get the vaccine and the booster because the booster restores protection making illness after infection about 74 percent less likely.

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