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Two New COVID-19 Variants Gaining Ground Across the Globe

COVID-19 cases are slightly dropping across the board, but the trend can change in the next few weeks thanks to two new variants gaining ground across the globe.

BA.4.6 and BA.2.75, also known as centaurus, are both still a part of the omicron lineage, which is what makes them variants of concern.

That’s because the omicron family is known for its infectious characteristics and its expertise in evading vaccines and our immune system.

“It seems that cases for the first time in a couple weeks are starting to go down, but we’re still in the plateau phase,” said Dr. Luis Rubio, infectious disease expert at UCSF. “BA.4.6 is probably the one that is detected more in the United States, compared to BA.2.75 but it’s still in low proportion compared to the dominant variant which is BA.5 still.”

As of last week, BA.4.6 is only making up 1.8% of cases in California and only a few infections due to centaurus have been reported in Los Angeles and other areas across the state.

The concern is how fast they’re spreading.

In fact, Dr. Dean Winslow, a professor of medicine at Stanford, said the way centaurus is moving, reminds him of how fast delta hit us.

“It certainly dramatically increased its prevalence in India, from gosh really undetectable in the middle of may to now its making up as many as 40% of cases in India,” said Winslow.

Experts believe there’s still a lot to learn about both sub variants–but preliminary information shows neither is causing severe disease.

“Both of these variants are going to be more transmissible, in particular centaurus or the 2.75 variants, but I’m not concerned if individuals are fully immunized and boosted,” said Winslow.

Both experts say only time will tell how big of a threat these new variants will be in our community.

Regardless, the winter is coming and with it, they say, a higher risk of respiratory viruses and more cases.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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