Doctors say omicron’s BA.5 is Valley’s worst subvariant yet

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – BA.5 has become the dominant subvariant of COVID-19 in Las Vegas. Health officials report a slight decrease in hospitalizations and cases, but concerns are growing. This subvariant variant is the most transmissible to date.

Karen Connors is a resident of the Valley, and she says she is changing her behaviors and taking extra precautions.

“There are so many sick people in the Valley right now, so I’m wearing my mask again,” Connors said.

Connors says she’s not going anywhere without it and the new variant of COVID-19, BA.5, is to blame.

“It’s scary when I went to get my second shot, the pharmacist said the virus had already mutated 200 times,” Connors said.

When Karen discovered that this subvariant is more transmissible than any other variant of COVID-19, she went to get her booster and her fourth vaccine. Dr. Brian Labus, an infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor at UNLV, says that even if you’re vaccinated, it’s never been easier to get infected with COVID-19. The reason is BA.5.

“Each time there is a variant, it will be more contagious than the previous variant because it has to surpass it,” Dr. Labus said.

He says it’s the dominant variant in southern Nevada right now and is responsible for more than half of the cases in Clark County. This clever variant may elude our current vaccines.

The CDC says BA.5 is at least 20% more infectious than omicron and as contagious as measles, the world’s most infectious viral disease and even if you are fully vaccinated it says you can still catch the virus .

“It can still protect you, even if you get sick, vaccinated people tend to have milder disease,” Labus said.

Doctors say that if you plan to go out in large crowds, the likelihood of getting this subvariant is high.

Because of this, Karen says going out can wait.

“The show isn’t going anywhere, so we can wait for things to calm down again, no indoor gigs, no shows and try to be careful,” Connors said.

Health experts say an updated vaccine targeting BA.5 is in the works, and we can expect to see it this fall. If you are considering getting vaccinated or vaccinated, health officials advise you to discuss this with your doctor.

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