PLEASANTON (CBS SF) – The emergence of the omicron BA.2 subvariable comes just as a lot of people are starting to talk about the end of the pandemic – removal mask requirements.
So does the BA.2 subvariable change that?
“I don’t think so,” said Dr. Karin Shavelson, Chief Medical Officer at MarinHealth. “We still need more information on the secondary variable, but what we know at the moment is that it doesn’t show it to be any more dangerous than Omicron.”
So far, only 11 cases have been detected in California but the worry is that this case may be even more transmissible than the original Omicron.
But the new mutation is scarier than its predecessor, Shavelson said. And while there may one day be a variant that changes the course of the pandemic, this is almost certainly not the case.
“Everything I’ve seen suggests it won’t change things dramatically and really isn’t something for us to worry about,” Shavelson said. “I think now we’re going to enter another lull.”
“It spread from about 20 percent of the sequences in December, up from 45 percent by the second week of January and now,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, UCSF Infectious Diseases Specialist. 65% of cases in Denmark.
Dr. Chin-Hong reviewed data from abroad to learn more about the stealthy Omicron.
“We don’t think it causes more severe disease than the initial analysis from Denmark and I am confident that our current vaccine will work in protecting most,” said Dr. Chin-Hong. people don’t go to the hospital.”
This mutation is not surprising to those in the medical field, including Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, Infectious Diseases Specialist at Stanford Health.
“I have no illusions that this virus will go away anytime soon.”
As long as the virus is contagious, it has the potential to mutate. Doctors feel vaccines are the best way to slow the virus.
“I think if we got more vaccinated it would help, but remember, it’s not just the US. We have to make sure that everyone in the world has access to vaccines,” explains Dr. Maldonado.
As doctors learn more about the coronavirus, Dr Maldonado hopes there will be a shift in approach to this pandemic into an endemic one. The goal is to have data so that we can focus on the most vulnerable.
“How can we predict who will get symptoms and be hospitalized? “There is no risk of being caught on a ventilator, and more and more information is showing us who these people are at high risk for getting sick,” Maldonado said.
A lull, or complete break from the pandemic is what many had hoped for at the end of the Omicron wave.
Guy Piccolo of Walnut Creek said: “We’re getting to the point between people who get vaccinated and people who’ve had the Omicron virus, where it’s going to decrease.
“I think everyone is ready,” Piccolo said.
“We, at some point, have to live with COVID,” said UCSF Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Monica Gandhi. “And that means these missions won’t get done.”
Gandhi said that of course we are pausing the protocols.
“No need for masks,” Gandhi explained of the virus calm to come. “Don’t get tested if you don’t have symptoms. No more vaccine passports, and encouraging people to go back to work. That’s what life in the UK is like right now. It’s back to normal. ”
And, as case numbers continue to fall, she says the same relief will eventually come to schools.
“We are in the phase of controlling this virus,” Gandhi said. “And I suspect that after a while there will be masking missions in schools.”
California’s current mask mandate began in mid-December, but it has since been extended. It will still expire on February 15th.
KPIX 5 reporter Andrea Nakano contributed to this report.
https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2022/01/25/experts-emerging-omicron-subvariant-shouldnt-delay-lull-in-covid-pandemic/ Emerging Omicron Sub-Pandemic Shouldn’t Be Delayed During the COVID Pandemic – CBS San Francisco