INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — BA.5 is now the dominant COVID-19 strain circulating in the United States, accounting for 54% of all cases.
This is putting health officials on edge because BA.5 is causing reinfection in as little as four weeks after a person has recovered from a previous strain.
“We are seeing cases where someone who has had COVID as recently as a month ago get infected with this subvariant of omicron,” Dr. Christohper Doehring, vice president of medical affairs at Franciscan Health, told News 8. “It’s being referred to as the so-called ‘stealth’ variant basically because it is able to evade the immunity created by a prior infection with a different strain. What’s not yet apparent is if people are getting re-infected after having BA.5? … Are they getting it again?”
Doehring says it’s unlikely. Patients do build a small level of protection after a previous omicron infection. However, the immunity being generated isn’t as robust to avoid BA.5.
Doehring says there is good news though. While BA.5 may have taken root, the United States is not seeing a huge surge in the number of severely ill people, hospital admissions, or deaths.