NYSDOH: ‘Stealth omicron’ sub-lineages behind increase in COVID cases

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York State Department of Health Wednesday announced it has detected two sub-lineages of BA.2, the omicron subvariant dubbed "stealth omicron".

The NYSDOH said at this time there is no evidence that the sub-lineages, BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1, lead to more severe disease than the regular BA.2 subvariant, which has not been shown to cause disease any more severe than the omicron variant. Multiple studies found that the omicron variant was less likely to lead to hospitalization than previous strains of COVID-19.

The NYSDOH said it estimates that the sub-lineages have a 23% – 27% growth advantage above the original BA.2 variant and said it believes they are behind a rise in COVID cases in Central New York.

It also said it believes that BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1 comprised of more than 20% of COVID-19 cases in the Finger Lakes in March.

The NYSDOH said it will continue to monitor the situation.