BA.2 Omicron Subvariant Now the Dominant Strain in the U.S.
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- The highly contagious Omicron subvariant known as BA.2 now accounts for 55 percent of the coronavirus cases in the country, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday
- This comes a week after the World Health Organization declared the BA.2 strain as the dominant strain of the Omicron around the world and days after Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC said she anticipated it would also be dominant across the U.S
- The BA.2 was first identified in the United States in December and has since spread to many parts of the country, triggering a rise in case counts and hospitalizations
- Experts say the strain has nearly a dozen mutations in the gene for the spike protein on the virus's surface, which is responsible for its rapid growth and transmissibility
- Despite the rapid spread of the BA.2 variant, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have dropped in the country in recent weeks, with the seven-day average of new cases dropping to about 30,000 cases per day, a level seen in July