The BA.2 variant, the latest variant of COVID-19 to be detected in the United States, is believed to be present in Florida. BA.2, colloquially called ‘Son of Omicron’ is a mutation of the Omicron variant, and is believed to retain Omicron’s high transmission rate.
As of last week, the Centers for Disease Control estimate that BA.2 cases account for somewhere near a quarter of new infections throughout the United States. Omicron in its initial form had already been the cause of the vast majority of cases nationwide before BA.2.
The severity of BA.2 is currently unclear due to a small data set. Even as BA.2’s share of the total caseload increases, the total case numbers in the United States are still falling as a whole. Likewise, the CDC has loosened certain restrictions as part of a transition back to something resembling pre-COVID life.
For Florida, around 1% of new cases are believed to be the BA.2 variant. The northeast is seeing almost 40% if its daily caseload coming from BA.2 infections, and China is seeing enough of a problem to reinstitute strict lockdowns to curb its onset.
Contacted by AskFlagler, Governor Ron DeSantis’s press secretary Christina Pushaw conveyed the following response on behalf of the Governor:
“Governor DeSantis has ruled out any restrictions, mandates, or lockdowns in Florida. Going into the third year of the pandemic, it’s clear that those interventions don’t work, but fortunately we have tools that help reduce the severity of the disease: Early treatments and vaccines, especially for seniors and other high risk groups. Floridians are empowered to mask the best choices for themselves and their families.”
Pushaw also initiated contact with the state Department of Health for further comment, which will be added to this article once it is received.