More than two years after the global pandemic shut down economies worldwide, COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines. Now, a troubling new Omicron subvariant is making its way through communities everywhere.
Experts say the BA.5 variant is less resistant to natural immunity, which means it can re-infect people a short time after a previous bout with the virus. There is also evidence that this subvariant could be more virulent, which means it could make people sicker than many of the previous forms of the disease.
According to the World Health Organization, BA.5 is largely responsible for a roughly 30% increase in cases over just the past two weeks. But there could be a silver lining.
The Food and Drug Administration announced this week that it had approved another COVID-19 vaccine. Novavax developed the shots using a process more like prior vaccines instead of the revolutionary mRNA shots produced by Pfizer and Moderna.
Although experts are calling BA.5 the worst subvariant of COVID-19 thus far, White House official Dr. Ashish Jha attempted to reassure Americans that the Biden administration is doing its best to address the latest health concern.
“We’ve been planning and preparing for this moment,” he said. “And the message that I want to get across to the American people is this: BA.5 is something we’re closely monitoring, and most importantly, we know how to manage it.”