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Expert reveals why the new BA.2 variant is a test for return to normal

Will the new COVID subvariant delay the return to normal?

SHARE Expert reveals why the new BA.2 variant is a test for return to normal
An image depicting the omicron variant.

Will the new COVID subvariant delay the return to normal?

Illustration by Zoe Peterson, Deseret News

The BA.2 coronavirus subvariant — a cousin of the omicron variant — may be a test for our society returning to normal, said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

What he said: “I think this is going to be a real test of whether or not we’re able to live some semblance of normalcy and not reach back to the kind of mitigation that we’ve relied on in the past,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” over the weekend.

  • Gottlieb said he doesn’t expect a surge of cases, but only a slight uptick, as the BA.2 variant arrives in the United States. He said the U.S. is relying on immunity levels — from the coronavirus vaccine and from natural infection — to ward off the new subvariant.

Yes, but: Gottlieb said the recent loosening of COVID-19 restrictions may not protect everyone from coronavirus infection.

  • “And so far right now, I don’t know that we’re taking all the steps we need to be taking to protect vulnerable people to weather this bump and potentially another surge heading into next fall,” he said.


The bigger picture: Experts have predicted that COVID-19 cases will rise in the United States, too, as the BA.2 variant continues to surge in Europe and Asia.

  • Sewage water data suggests that the United States is already seeing a rise in cases, though they haven’t been confirmed yet through positive COVID-19 test results, as I reported for the Deseret News.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus, said over the weekend that he doesn’t expect a major coronavirus wave in the United States. He said he wouldn’t recommend adding new restrictions.