Credit: Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker
Georgia's BA-2 subvariant COVID cases are 'more of a ripple than a wave,' official says
The Georgia Department of Public Health says the omicron subvariant BA-2 now makes up 60% of the current cases. GPB’s Ellen Eldridge reports.
In January, the leading cause of death for Americans between 45 and 64 was COVID-19, and more people aged 15 and older died of COVID than of cancer, according to a recent report.
The disease also led this age group last summer, due in large part to the delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The data comes from the Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Tracker data through Feb. 28, 2022, for average daily and monthly total COVID-19 deaths in the United States for all ages.
The timing lines up with the appearance of the omicron variant in Georgia.
Deaths are a lagging indicator. The Georgia Department of Public Health first detected omicron in early December 2021.
The infected person had recently traveled from South Africa, where the variant was first detected, and developed mild symptoms of COVID-19. Genomic testing confirmed the person contracted the omicron variant, DPH said.
Dr. Cherie Drenzek, the state director of epidemiology, said at the April 12 board meeting there were about 370 or so individuals hospitalized with COVID around the entire state the previous day, a 93% decrease from the January peak of the omicron wave.
The overarching impact of vaccination, boosting and natural immunity from infection, she said, is that hospitalization numbers are now at least as low as right before last July’s delta wave.
“This is much more of a ripple than a wave,” Drenzek said.
The fact that so many people caught COVID in winter might have something to do with low case numbers now that the BA-2 subvariant is circulating, she said.
The Georgia Department of Public Health says the omicron subvariant BA-2 now makes up 60% of the current cases.
In Georgia, 56% of people are fully vaccinated and 23% have received at least one booster of COVID vaccine.