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APH warns of two new stealthy omicron sub-variants as cases continue to steadily rise

(Dell Children's Medical Center/Facebook)

Two new omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, have been detected in Travis County as COVID cases continue to rise, Austin Public Health said Friday.


Travis County's Community Level remains low—at around 175 cases per 100,000 residents—but could raise to medium levels if that number surpasses 200. Just over 420 new cases were reported May 29, around triple the daily caseload reported in early April.

COVID cases are on the rise in Austin but remain well below surge levels. (Austin Public Health)


APH said omicron sub-variant, BA.2, currently accounts for most infections in Austin and Travis County. But BA.4 and BA.5, which now account for around 6% of cases nationwide, show evidence of being more transmissible abroad, where each have been detected in at least 30 countries.

According to a Columbia University study, BA.4 and BA.5 viruses were more than four times as likely to escape antibodies from vaccinated and boosted people when compared to BA.2. Still, rising deaths have not come with rising BA.4 and BA.5 cases in South Africa, where the subvariants were originally detected.

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