The BA.2 subvariant of the omicron variant doesn’t seem to be any more severe than the original form of omicron, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

  • Vaccines also protect people from the BA.2 variant in a similar manner to how they protect those with the omicron variant, per Reuters.
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What they’re saying: “Looking at other countries where BA.2 is now overtaking, we’re not seeing any higher bumps in hospitalization than expected,” Dr. Boris Pavlin, a member of the WHO’s COVID-19 response team.

  • “Vaccination is profoundly protective against severe disease, including for omicron. BA.2 is rapidly replacing BA.1. Its impact is unlikely to be substantial, although more data are needed,” he added.

Details: Scientists recently discovered a fast-moving subvariant of the omicron variant — called BA.2, or “stealth omicron.” 

  • The subvariant has accounted for more and more COVID-19 cases, leading to new surges in Denmark, the United Kingdom, Singapore and India, as I reported for the Deseret News.

Yes, but: Experts told USA Today that there isn’t any reason to panic yet about the new subvariant.

  • “I don’t think it’s going to cause the degree of chaos and disruption, morbidity and mortality that BA.1 did,” Dr. Jacob Lemieux, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told USA Today. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re going to continue to move to a better place and, hopefully, one where each new variant on the horizon isn’t news.”