A new version of the omicron variant has been spreading fast in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Details: The new omicron variant’s subvariant — the BA.2.12.1 variant — now makes up one-fifth of COVID-19 cases, according to the CDC.

  • The BA.2 variant is still dominating the United States with about 75% of all cases, per the CDC.

Flashback: The New York State Department of Public Health said recently that the BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1 variants are spreading throughout New York City right now, causing an uptick in cases.

The bigger picture: There’s a lot of uncertainty in the COVID-19 pandemic right now. Cases have hit a lull — which could be due to more at-home testing, among other factors — but there are also fewer restrictions.

  • “It’s really tough to say what is going to happen,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief pandemic scientist for the White House, told BuzzFeed News. “But there are going to be new variants.”
  • Some experts suggest that the end of the travel mask mandate could accelerate the creation of more COVID-19 variants, too.
Related
WIll there be another new COVID-19 variant after omicron and the BA.2 variant?
What is omicron XE? A look at the new COVID-19 variant spreading outside the U.S.
New omicron XE COVID-19 variant has made its way to Japan

What to watch: John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College, said that scientists should plan on seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the variants as they continue to mutate, per NBC News.