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Omicron BA.2 variant detected in Louisville

The BA.2 omicron COVID variant was discovered at two different wastewater testing locations,...
The BA.2 omicron COVID variant was discovered at two different wastewater testing locations, but experts believe it has spread further.(MGN)
Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 5:50 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - BA.2, a new omicron subvariant, was recently discovered in Louisville’s wastewater. The variant is an omicron offshoot with 40 new genetic mutations that make it more contagious than its predecessor.

A COVID-positive person would spread the virus to eight others if exposed to omicron, according to Dr. Joseph Flynn from Norton Healthcare. That number has now increased to 12 thanks to the addition of this new subvariant.

While it is easier to spread, it does not appear to be more severe, according to Flynn, and there is still a way to protect against it — the COVID vaccine.

The variant was discovered at two different wastewater testing locations, but experts believe it has spread further. Flynn stated that it is unknown whether there will be a significant increase because people will be spending more time outside, many have received the COVID vaccine and booster shots, and many people who have caught BA.2 now have antibodies.

“What we have seen is that people are more apt to get to the transmission of the virus,” Flynn said. “As far as how serious it is — pretty similar to what we saw with original omicron. Which is great news for all of us. Upper respiratory, cold-like symptoms, that sort of thing. If you are vaccinated and have booster, chances of having severe disease is very low.”

Flynn said those who have a weakened immune system or are older should still consider wearing a mask in public.

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