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The newest COVID-19 variant is still really unpredictable

It’s unclear what to make of the omicron variant’s subtype, BA.2

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An illustration of the coronavirus.

It’s unclear what to understand about the omicron variant’s subtype, BA.2.

Illustration by Alex Cochran, Deseret News

By now, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about the BA.2 variant of the coronavirus — but experts are unsure about what to make of it.

Driving the news: Experts recently told The Daily Beast that the new BA.2 COVID-19 variant has been confusing because it has dominated some countries while remaining mostly absent from other parts of the world.

What they’re saying: “The bottom line is that it is not predictable what BA.2 will do,” John Swartzberg, a professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Public Health, told The Daily Beast.

  • “Something different seems to be occurring,” Peter Hotez, an expert in vaccine development at Baylor College, told The Daily Beast.
  • “BA.2 is going up everywhere in terms of percentage of virus isolated” in COVID-19 tests yet this translates into many different scenarios in terms of rise in cases.”

The bigger picture: COVID-19 cases are still spreading across the world. China has had to contend with new coronavirus subtypes — including new mutations of the omicron variant, per Bloomberg — as the United Kingdom has had to battle omicron XE, a hybrid version of two omicron variant mutations.