As BA.2 COVID variant cases rise in Europe, Bay Area doctor says we have ‘layers of protection’ against subvariant

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The United States typically lags COVID-19 trends in Europe four to six weeks, which is why the White House is watching the United Kingdom closely.

In the UK, the BA. 2 sub-variant “the growth rate established at about 80% higher relative growth for BA.2 compared to BA.1.”, which means that it grows faster than the initial omicron strain, according to the UK Health Security Agency.

The United States is actively monitoring the spread of BA.2 overseas.

“We’re still trying to assess the ultimate impact on whether people are going to get sick in large numbers there or whether it’s increasing mortality, but it’s concerning,” said Dr Tom Inglesby, senior adviser to the White House COVID-19 Response Team.

RELATED: Highly transmissible COVID subvariant surges in California, but ‘doubts’ expert lockdowns will be needed

According to Dr. Inglesby, the majority of BA.2 cases in the United States are detected in the northeast of the country.

“We anticipate this will become the majority strain at some point circulating. It has not resulted in an increase in the total number of COVID cases,” Dr. Inglesby said.

Before vaccines and boosters, an increase in COVID cases led to an increase in hospitalizations.

VIDEO: Dr. Sara Cody thanks residents 2 years into COVID pandemic, says following protocols have saved lives

We spoke to the chief of the emergency department at Zuckerberg General Hospital in San Francisco about how the past two years have prepared them for this new phase of life with COVID.

“We opened other floors, we had designated specific areas to manage critically ill and non-critically ill COVID-19 patients who needed to be admitted,” said Dr. Chris Colwell, chief of the Zuckerberg San Francisco General emergency department. Hospital.

“We now have a model for this and we’ve learned what worked and what didn’t. We were able to really refine a lot of the processes to be better prepared. So now we have them ready to go.”

In the Bay Area, many cases of BA.2 are being detected in the South Bay, despite Santa Clara being the most vaccinated large county in the entire country, according to Dr. Sara Cody.

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VIDEO: Will we keep getting new COVID variants? Doctor describes infected body as ‘bad copier’

“In the northern parts of the county, the wastewater that we’re tracking, most of the omicron is this BA.2 sublineage,” Dr. Sara Cody said and added, “Interestingly, this doesn’t raise levels overall. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t.”

At a press conference Thursday, Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara’s director of public health, said she recommends masking indoors.

RELATED: 2 cases of new omicron subvariant BA.2 detected in Santa Clara County

“There will probably come a time when we will have to wear them most of the time if there is another flare-up,” Dr. Cody said.

Dr. Cody also pointed out that we are now in a much better position to respond to a variant.

“We will use the layers of protection,” Dr Cody said and added: “We have vaccines, we have boosters. We have a lot of information, we have large-scale testing, widespread availability of masks and we know what is needed. So we’re not going to have to shelter in place. We can keep ourselves and our families safe in other ways.

RELATED: Experts Explain What Makes the BA.2 omicron Sub-Variant More Contagious Than the Original

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