BA.2 made up 23% of new COVID cases, up from 7% two weeks ago.
Experts fear that the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States will increase in the next few weeks as the new BA.2 variant spreads.
Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that BA.2, a submarine of Omicron, is increasing threefold every two weeks.
As of the week ending March 11, BA.2 made up 23.1% of all COVID cases in the United States, compared to 7.1% of all cases for the week ending February 26, according to the CDC.
Although the original Omicron variant still makes up the majority of Kovid infections in the United States, its incidence has dropped from 74.5% to 66.1% over the same period.
Dr. Anthony Fawcett, the country’s leading infectious disease specialist, said that given the growing prevalence of BA.2, he expects cases to increase within the next month.
“I hope we see an improvement in cases here in the United States because, just a week or so ago, the CDC came up with a change in their metrics that would be recommended for masking indoors and in most parts of the country. Where there is no need to mask inside the house, “Fausi told ABC-approved KGTV on Wednesday.
Fawcett added that he believes BA.2 will become the dominant variant in the country, surpassing the original Omicron variant.
Several European countries – such as Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom – have reported a spike in COVID-19 in recent weeks.
In the UK, 93,943 cases were recorded on Wednesday, more than double the 45,303 recorded two weeks ago, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. John Bronstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and contributor to ABC News, said: “Europe is an important sign of what we can expect in the United States.” We don’t know if it will be another wave or a small push. “
Last month, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that any remaining COVID-19 measures in England would be scrapped so that the country could move to a new stage of the epidemic, which he described as “living with COVID”.
Several European countries, such as the United States, have followed suit, simplifying masking guidelines for 70% of countries, including schools.
Fawcett said he was encouraged that BA.2 did not appear to be the cause of the more serious illness, but warned that if the United States were to experience another wave of covid waves, Americans would be willing to re-adopt mitigation measures – and other experts agreed. Be.
“What we’re seeing now is the importance of being able to intervene off-ramp as a case-up and how to get them back as soon as they’re back,” Bronstein said. “This could mean masking in specific settings and spending less time in indoor settings and environments that we know can spread the virus faster.”
Dr. Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, said he hopes the U.S. government also has plans to distribute COVID-19 antivirals in a single wave.
“These drugs are life-saving and if someone is diagnosed early and they take these antiviral drugs, they will not end up in the hospital and will not die from it,” he told ABC News. “So it will really reduce the burden of COVID-19.”
Ariel Metropolis of ABC News contributed to this report.