Numbers updated this morning by the CDC indicate that the percentage of new Covid cases across the United States tied to the even more transmissible BA.2 variant has jumped from 23% in early March to 35% this week. On the positive side, that means the rate of increase has slowed from two 100% jumps over the previous month to a little less than 50% in the past two weeks. But there are portions of the country that are much worse off. See regional map below of variant proportions. BA.2 is represented in pink.
More from Deadline
In the southwestern region comprised of the country’s most populous state, California, as well as Arizona and Nevada, the percentage of cases analyzed that are showing up BA.2 has risen from 27% two weeks ago to 41% today. The Northeast is being hit even harder.
In one swath of the region that includes Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey and has a population of about 41 million people, BA.2 now accounts from 51% of all new cases during the most recent two-week period. In the previous 14 days, it accounted for a little over 38%.
In the northeastern region comprised of Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine, which has a population close to 14 million, BA.2 has risen to 55% of all new cases, per the CDC.
A late January report from the Statens Serum Institut, which operates under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Health, found that “BA.2 may be approx. 30% more transmissible than BA.1 (the original Omicron).” Some analyses since then have claimed the variant’s transmissibility advantage is even higher.
The good news is that the Omicron strains are much less virulent than Delta, but as the U.S. saw in early February of this year, Omicron’s increased transmissibility can still create a wave of deaths equal to or surpassing that of Delta by the sheer number of infections alone.
Best of Deadline