The BA.2 coronavirus variant — a subvariant of the omicron variant — has been spreading throughout the United States in recent weeks, raising questions and concerns about what’s next in the pandemic.

Why it matters: The United States has seen a dip in COVID-19 cases recently. But with the BA.2 variant on the rise, there are a number of concerns about what’s next in the pandemic.

Related
Expert reveals why the new BA.2 variant is a test for return to normal
COVID-19 cases are expected to rise due to the BA.2 subvariant

What to watch: Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, told CNN that the BA.2 variant can be concerning for some individuals.

  • Specifically, anyone who is “vulnerable to severe illness from Covid-19 despite vaccination should be concerned about the coronavirus in general,” Wen told CNN.
  • She said that “Covid-19 infection will result in mild illness” for most people.
  • But, she told CNN, “those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised or with multiple underlying medical conditions — the infection still could result in hospitalization.”

The bigger picture: Experts have suggested that coronavirus cases are expected to rise in the coming weeks due to the BA.2 subvariant.

  • There are a number of reasons for a potential uptick. For one, cases have been rising in Europe and Asia, which means the coronavirus is more prominent throughout the world.
  • At the same time, society has been reopening more with loosened restrictions. Because people are interacting more, COVID-19 cases are expected to climb.

What they’re saying: “I would expect that we might see an uptick in cases here in the United States because, only a week or so ago, the CDC came out with their modification of the metrics for what would be recommended for masking indoors, and much of the country right now is in that zone, where masking indoors is not required,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told KGTV last week.