SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Infectious disease experts on Friday night said a new omicron subvariant is even more transmissible than the original.
New research shows it already accounts for at least half of new cases, with some of them appearing in Yolo County.
Yolo County health officials told FOX40 they have already detected four cases of the new COVID-19 subvariant “BA.2” and experts said it is around 50% more contagious than the first omicron variant.
“The concern with this new strain is it has 28 unique mutations that are different from the original omicron strain, and it appears that makes it about 50% more transmissible than that strain,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Health.
The state health department said 26 cases have been reported in California, with four cases discovered in Yolo County.
“COVID is here. Omicron is here, ba.1, ba.2. It doesn’t really matter and they’re both very infectious, and so we need to take additional precautions to protect ourselves right now,” said Dr. Aimee Sisson, Yolo County health officer.
The concern is the new subvariant could slow down the decline in cases or even cause infections to go back up.
Experts said data coming out of Denmark shows it’s more contagious among the younger population.
“In Denmark, about half the patients that are admitted to the hospital are under 40 years of age. Whereas before, we were mostly concerned with people who were older individuals over 65 years of age, and it’s really alarming in terms of children that the highest hospitalization rate is children from birth to two years of age, out of any age group. And so as a pediatrician, I’m very concerned about that.,” Blumberg said.
So concerned about the potential spread among students and staff, Sacramento City Unified School District held a vaccination clinic Friday evening at the SERNA building. People from the area and neighboring counties waited in line to get their booster shots, with some just finding out about the new variant.
“You know, I actually haven’t even heard of it yet. It seems as if a new variant crops up every week,” said Rocklin parent Sari Pogue.
Because the subvariant is still so new, there is lots more research to be done in order to have a better understanding of it.