(INDIANAPOLIS) – Another COVID-19 variant is gaining ground, but health experts say this one isn’t cause for alarm.
BA.2 isn’t actually a variant, but an Omicron subvariant, meaning it’s mostly the same as the last version. It is more contagious, and has been blamed for a rise in cases in countries in Europe and Asia. Community Health Network chief medical officer Ram Yeleti predicts cases will rise here too.
But Yeleti says between the 3.6 million Hoosiers who have been vaccinated and the thousands who contracted COVID during the Omicron surge the last few months, he expects most cases to be mild, closer to a cold than the illness which flooded hospitals just two months ago. Cases have plunged 98% in that span.
Yeleti says the virus is following a typical pattern, mutating into a more infectious but less deadly form to increase its ability to find new hosts. But he cautions the virus still poses a threat to the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. And he says the pandemic’s path remains unpredictable. Vaccination rates in Africa, for instance, are still under 20%, giving the virus new opportunities to evolve into a more dangerous version.
360 Hoosiers are hospitalized with COVID-19, the fewest at any point in the pandemic.