There’s no denying the numbers: Even with spotty reporting, Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising again in the United States.
Cases are trending up in most states and have increased by more than 50% compared with the previous week in Washington, Mississippi, Georgia, Maine, Hawaii, South Dakota, Nevada and Montana. In New York, more than a quarter of the state’s population is in a county with a “high” Covid-19 community level, where the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends indoor masking.
Average daily hospitalizations are up about 10% since last week, according to data collected by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
The culprit this time appears to be a spinoff of Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant called BA.2.12.1, which was first flagged by New York state health officials in April.
BA.2.12.1, which is growing about 25% faster than its parent virus, BA.2, accounts for nearly 37% all Covid-19 cases across the US, according to new estimates from the CDC.
BA.2 caused an estimated 62% of all Covid-19 cases last week, down from 70% the week before.
US, South Africa contend with faster new variants
BA.2.12.1 isn’t the only Omicron offshoot that scientists are watching.