BA.5 Cases Continue Decline as Other Omicron Subvariants Increase Across U.S.

The BA.5 omicron subvariant, which has been the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States for more than three months, is still responsible for four out of every five cases of the virus, but its grip is loosening as two other variants gain traction.

BA.5 is responsible for an estimated 81.3% of COVID cases in the United States, down from 83.2% a week earlier, according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

According to CDC data, the variation has been the dominant strain of COVID in the United States since July 2, but its dominance may soon be challenged by two distinct omicron sublineages.

The BA.5 subvariant emerged at the same time as the BA.4 subvariant, however, it is a descendant of BA.4 that is growing the fastest in the United States. BA.4.6 is responsible for 12.8% of cases this week, up from just under 12% last week, according to CDC estimates.

According to CDC estimations, the BF.7 subvariant, a descendent of BA.5, is responsible for 3.4%.

New spike proteins on both BA.4.6 and BF.7, like other COVID virus evolutions, are assisting the virus in better evading both natural immunity imparted by prior iterations of omicron and vaccine immunity, even with new boosters on the market.

It’s uncertain if the new bivalent boosters, which are specially tailored to help fight off severe omicron sickness, will guard against infection in general, with research still ongoing even as Americans start getting the shots.

Overall, cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are decreasing in the United States. According to the CDC, no Illinois county currently has a “high” virus transmission rate, with the majority falling into the “low” or “medium” classifications.

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