BA2.12.1 variant: How prevalent is it; what are its symptoms?

The latest variant of the COVID-19 virus is starting to see a significant increase in cases across the country.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that the BA.2.12.1 subvariant of omicron accounts for about 42.6% of current coronavirus cases for the week ending on May 7, 2022.

The BA.2 omicron variant accounts for about 56.4% of current cases.

The BA.2.12.1 subvariant may become the dominant strain in the next few weeks, AL.com reported.

While there has been an increase in cases recently, virologist Jeremy Luban from the UMass Chan Medical School said the rise has been slower than with other variantss and smaller when compared to the BA.1 variant, also known as delta, NPR reported.

He also is hopeful that the various vaccinations will work well against BA.2.12.1, at least protecting against severe cases and hospitalizations.

“I’m relatively optimistic that, despite all of these changes in the virus, the vaccines will hold up,” Luban told NPR. “So people who have been vaccinated and boosted are not going to be hospitalized, by and large, unless there’s some extenuating circumstances.”

According to the CDC, the symptoms for the BA.2 variant are:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Most of the time BA2.12.1 cases have sneezing, coughing and sore throat, according to AL.com. Basically, you feel like you have the flu, according to Medical News Today.

NBC News reported that the subvariants aren’t showing as many people losing their senses of taste and smell. Instead, it’s presenting like a bad cold, according to Dr. Dennis Cunningham, system medical director of infection control and prevention at Henry Ford Health in Detroit.

The Zoe COVID Symptom Study based in the U.K. tracks people as they self-report their symptoms. The data generated agrees with Cunningham’s findings that the most common symptoms are a runny nose, followed by fatigue, sore throat, sneezing, headache, cough and horse voice, NBC News reported.