Another COVID-19 variant is gaining ground, but health experts say this one isn’t cause for alarm.
B-A-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 three-point-six-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-percent 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-percent, 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.