New and more relevant COVID-19 variants are coming to light, namely, BA.4 and BA.5. Both subvariants of Omicron, current predictions point to these two new strains being more transmissible than BA.2 and having the capability to evade immunity from vaccines and prior infection.
Cases have been rising across the United States, with the new Omicron subvariant accounting for the majority of new infections. Although health authorities are confident that BA.2 will not cause a surge as bad as its predecessor, they are beginning to put up our defenses by reinforcing mask mandates.
Researchers in Hong Kong studied the severity of the BA.2 variant among a small number of children who were hospitalized for the most recent COVID-19 strain. They found that children who were hospitalized with the BA.2 variant were 18 times more likely to be admitted to the ICU and seven times more likely to die compared to those hospitalized with the flu.