Here’s What You Should Know About BA.5 Symptoms and Severity as Cases Surge

If you’re reaching for your mask again (or you never stopped wearing it in the first place), we don’t blame you. A new omicron subvariant—called BA.5—is now the dominant SARS-CoV-2 strain in the United States, and early reportsIt is spreading rapidly and widely, suggesting that it is. According to a report by a New York TimesAnalysis shows that COVID-19 is on the rise in the United States.

There are many questions about BA.5, but should you be concerned? This is where SELF answers the most pressing questions to help you stay safe.

Is BA.5 the most contagious variant yet?

In short, yes. “BA.5 gets an A-plus for contagiousness,” William Shaffner, M.D.SELF spoke with a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is a member of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “It’s more transmissible than its parent, omicron, which makes it about as transmissible as our most contagious viruses. There have been some of my colleagues who compared it to measles, to which we give the gold medal.”

BA.5 is also available now dominant SARS-CoV-2 strainThis correlates with rising case numbers in many areas of the United States. Some areas are more affected than others. like New York City, have upgraded their transmission levels to “high.” Local health officials have asked residents to take precautions, like wearing a mask in public and testing before and after travel.

However, the number of cases is on the rise in the country. Last year, there were approximately 29,000 new cases reported daily by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. average number of new cases per dayThe number of cases is around 132,000. Experts speculate that this number may be lower than the actual number, possibly due to the use a rapid test at-home.

BA.5 appears to also reinfect people who have already been infected with COVID-19. “That allows it to really move widely through the community,” Dr. Shaffner says. He likens COVID-19 reinfection to a “relatively minor illness, like a bad cold” for the average, healthy person—but the symptoms can greatly vary from person to person, and even reinfection can potentially cause severe illness. It’s not yet clear whether health issues compound with each COVID infection a person has, but a preliminary study suggests that people who’ve been infected more than twice are at increased risk of severe illness or death. The risk of developing COVID long-term is present with every COVID infected person, according to the CDC.

Dr. Shaffner says it’s not yet clear how quickly you can be reinfected with BA.5, but he puts it in the range of weeks, rather than months.

What are the main symptoms of BA.5 thus far?

Dr. Shaffner emphasizes that any data on specific BA.5 symptoms is anecdotal so far, as there haven’t been any large-scale studies on the symptoms of this subvariant yet.

“We’re hearing a lot about back and neck aches and pains,” Dr. Shaffner says. (Online, some people have sharedRecent symptoms mimic those of meningitis(Severe headaches and stiff necks can result. “It’s all anecdotal, but as people have looked at previous variants, the distinctions between the variants have not been very large.”

Source: Slef

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