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3 new omicron offshoots could prompt COVID resurgence

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are declining nationwide; however, health officials say the trend likely won’t last.

The coronavirus thrives in cold weather, and temperatures are dropping. Experts warn it’s possible the virus’ next resurgence may come not just in the form of one omicron offshoot, but in a wave of three: BA.4.6, BF.7 and BA.2.75.

News 8 spoke with Dr. Christopher Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, who explains how fast the trio is moving in. 

“We’re starting to see that long-standing 95-plus percent slope (of BA.4 and BA.5) start to drop and then something takes its place and these three are that something by and large at this point. I think they account technically for about 13 out of 100 new cases in the U.S. in the most recent reporting. They started at zero and got up to 13% over the last month or so. So they are on their way up,” Doehring said.

He says the exact features of each new version are not clear just yet. Whether they are more contagious than BA.4 and BA.5 or evade existing immunity remains to be seen. 

In the meantime, he recommends people who are eligible to getting boosted with the new COVID shot if they haven’t already.