BA.2 Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order
As we inch closer to normal life, experts warn that COVID-19 is still around and not going anywhere just yet. While restrictions have been relaxed across the United States, cases are slowly rising in some states thanks to the new variant BA.2, which is now the dominant strain. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who explain what to know about BA.2 and how symptoms usually appear. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
What Could Happen Next With COVID
Erica Susky, an Infection Control Practitioner (ICP) in hospital epidemiology says, "As public health restrictions are easing in many places, along with a more transmissible sub-lineage of Omicron emerging in higher numbers (BA.2), another wave of COVID-19 is likely to occur in the coming weeks. This may vary from region to region, what will matter is that less people get serious illness and if the area's healthcare system can manage the new number of cases. SARS-CoV-2, like other RNA viruses, has shown the ability to mutate and recombine. In the coming months, one would expect further evolution and changes in SARS-CoV-2. From past epidemics, pathogen evolution tends towards the average, or less virulence. A virus that kills less hosts and spreads more easily has a competitive advantage from an evolutionary perspective. This seems to be what is happening with Omicron."
What is BA.2 and How it Became the Dominant Strain
Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health, and Saint Mary's Hospital explains, "The BA.2 is a subvariant often referred to as the "stealth variant." It is very contagious which has allowed it to become the dominant strain and cause more than 85% of all COVID-19 cases according to the CDC, meaning you are more likely to get sick if exposed. "
How BA.2 is Different From the Other Variants
According to Dr. Curry-Winchell, "The BA.2 variant is more contagious however, less lethal. Most patients present with mild to moderate symptoms that do not require hospitalization."
Symptoms of BA.2 and the Order they Usually Appear
Dr. Curry-Winchell explains, "The symptoms associated with BA.2 can vary based on the person infected and are not associated with a specific order in presentation. The common symptoms are fever, cough, sinus pressure, nasal congestion, and body aches. In the urgent care several of my patients have presented with diarrhea before the onset of respiratory symptoms such as cough, runny nose, or sore throat. Patients often experience feeling tired and run down at the onset of COVID. Then shortly after, they will experience fever, headache, sore throat, cough, body aches, loss of taste and smell and diarrhea. Diarrhea can be a sign of coronavirus. Some of the patients I have seen in urgent care will think they have food poisoning and are surprised they have COVID-19."
How Effective is the Vaccine Against BA.2 and Why are Vaccinated People Still Getting the Virus?
Dr. Curry-Winchell says, "The vaccine provides a layer of protection to help prevent or decrease your risks of getting COVID. A person who is vaccinated and boosted can get coronavirus however, the symptoms you will experience will be less in severity because of the vaccine. When you receive the vaccine it's a recipe card for your body to know how to fight the virus if it was to ever encounter COVID. When you are vaccinated, you are more likely to experience milder symptoms and it lowers your risks of hospitalization and possible death."
What Should People Know About COVID Right Now?
"The most important thing to know if you are vaccinated and boosted, this is your best way in preventing disease," Dr. Curry-Winchell emphasizes.
How to Deal with Pandemic Fatigue
Susky states, "All are now experienced in dealing with public health measures (lockdowns, quarantines and masking) and would certainly be glad to do away with them and return to a life seen in 2019. Summer is coming and, for the immediate future, this can assist in alleviating pandemic fatigue. As the weather improves and more activities can occur outdoors, people can be social in safer settings. The increased availability of social functions with the added safety of doing so outdoors will greatly improve one's ability to manage pandemic fatigue. For the months ahead there could be an increase in public health measures, i.e. lockdowns. What is key to dealing with pandemic fatigue in the long run is to go out and enjoy time with one's friends and families between the waves of COVID-19 when the risk is smaller and the restrictions are less."
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.
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