Home / News / World /  Omicron sub-variants BA.4, BA.5 may fuel next Covid surge, Top health official warns
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Omicron sub-variants BA.4, BA.5 may fuel into a new Covid infection surge, a top health official said on 8 July.

He also laid down some rules to protect further form the virus which included staying up-to-date on vaccination, masking up when community transmission is high or when a person is at high risk, and staying home when sick.

In a tweet, Global health leader and epidemiologist Dr. Tom Frieden wrote, “Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 are taking hold and may springboard us into a new infection surge. We can protect ourselves and others by staying up-to-date on vaccination, masking up when community transmission is high or if you’re at high risk, and staying home when sick."

He further suggested that even if mask is not mandate, it remains an important tool to help reduce the spread of Covid.

He also said that according to a recent analysis, wearing masks corresponds with a significant drop in the reproduction number of SARS-CoV-2.

Apart from this, he also stressed on the use of N95 mask to protect from Covid.

“If you’re medically vulnerable or just want better protection, up your mask to an N95," he said.

“If you're concerned about getting Covid (medically vulnerable or otherwise) and you're indoors with others who aren't masked, consider upgrading to an N95. Cloth and surgical mask protect if all wear, but if others aren't masked, a tightly fitting N95 is much more effective," he said.

The two sublineages, which were added to the World Health Organization's monitoring list in March and designated as variants of concern by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The WHO Covid update said that among Omicron lineages, the proportions of BA.5 and BA.4 continue to increase. BA.5 has been detected in 83 countries. Although BA.4, which has been detected in 73 countries, is also rising globally, the rate of increase is not as high as that of BA.5.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are boosting infections, accounting for at least 70% of the total nationwide.

Also Read: New covid sub-variant detected in India monitored by WHO: 10 points

While they’re more transmissible and better able to evade immune defenses than earlier versions, people who have been vaccinated or previously infected are generally suffering low rates of severe illness, according to Dan Barouch, a virologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. 

Also Read: Omicron BA.2.75 is alarming! Experts point 3 key reasons why tracking new COVID variant is essential

Meanwhile, a new sub-lineage BA.2.75 of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has been detected in India and some other countries, are being closely tracked by the World Health Organisation, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“In Europe and America, BA.4 and BA.5 are driving waves. In countries like India a new sub-lineage of BA.2.75 has also been detected, which we're following," he said.

The WHO weekly epidemiological update on covid-19, released on July 6, said that globally, the number of new weekly cases increased for the fourth consecutive week after a declining trend since the last peak in March 2022.


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