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Covid BA.5 Variant

A new strain of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus has quickly become the dominant strain in the U.S.. The BA5 strain, as it is known, also may be more transmissible.

The seven-day average for covid hospitalizations across the country has risen 3.1% over the last week, according to the CDC’s website, but UPMC Doctor David Burwell says that hasn’t been seen in their hospitals in the Commonwealth.

“There’s an uptick in other parts of the country with the new Omicron variant of BA5. At UPMC, we have not seen that as of yet.”

Doctor Burwell believes it’s too early to conclude whether BA5 is actually more transmissible

“As far as transmissibility, we’re not 100% sure that it is more transmissible.”

He thinks it might be a ‘brush fire’ scenario, as he calls it

“A new variant develops and it goes into a population of individuals that have lower immunity, so that’s always possible.”

But like variants of the past, Covid has hit larger cities harder, before trickling into more rural communities…something doctor burwell says is worth monitoring.

“Could it come to us at a stage? We’re concerned about that, we absolutely are concerned. Usually, viral patterns have significant effects in winter and also in the fall.”

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