There are already dozens of cases across almost half of the U.S. of a new Covid subvariant that’s even more contagious than the highly infectious omicron variant.
Nearly half of U.S. states have confirmed the presence of BA.2 with at least 127 known cases nationwide as of Friday, according to a global data base that tracks Covid variants.
The subvariant is 1.5 times more transmissible than the original omicron strain, referred to by scientists as BA.1, according to Statens Serum Institut, which conducts infectious disease surveillance for Denmark.
The new sublineage doesn’t appear to further reduce the effectiveness of vaccines against the disease, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency. “Currently there is no evidence that the BA.2 lineage is more severe than the BA.1 lineage,” CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund said in a press conference Friday.