The highly transmissible omicron subvariant BA.5 is the dominant strain behind 65% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

With a 7-day average of more than 5,600 hospitalizations as of July 11, there has been an increase in new patients since May 1, when there was a daily average of 2,000 patients. Meanwhile, new cases on July 11 totaled more than 130,000, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker.

“I think it could be our second worst surge in terms of numbers of cases,” UCSF’s Dr. Peter Chin-Hong told ABC 7 Bay Area. “We have to be careful.”

Is it easier to get reinfected with the new omicron subvariants?

The newer subvariants have the ability to evade immunity from vaccines or prior infections, or both, per the Deseret News.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that those who were previously infected with omicron subvariants BA.1 and BA.2 still risk reinfection from BA.4 and BA.5, per CNBC.

“The real superpower of BA.5 is reinfections,” Chin-Hong concurred.

What is the worst symptom of the new omicron subvariants?

So far, the BA.4 and BA.5 symptoms look similar to those seen in other omicron subvariants. With a short incubation time, most infections aren’t as severe as earlier COVID-19 strains.

In the off chance that it is a serious case, “symptoms may be more painful,” Chin-Hong told ABC 7.

“It won’t be so serious you’ll go to the hospital but it will be very uncomfortable,” he said, adding that the worst of it is a severely sore throat.

“Like their throat is on fire with BA.5,” said Chin-Hong. “We hear it’s the worst sore throat they’ve had.”

What are the top omicron symptoms?

The most common omicron-related symptoms are:

  • Cough.
  • Fatigue.
  • Congestion.
  • Runny nose.

What are other variants of concern?

As I previously reported, omicron is deemed a variant of concern, while some of its lineages — BA.2.75, BA.13, BA.2.11, BA.2.9.1, BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 — are being closely watched.

BA.2.75, also known as “centaurus,” was recently discovered in India and contains more mutations than other omicron variants.