NY confirms first 'stealth' omicron cases

New York's Health Department has confirmed that it has found the first cases of the new omicron subvariant in the state.

There have been four cases of the so-called BA.2 variant, or "stealth omicron" that were detected between January 7 and 12.

Currently, it is not a variant of concern, but it has been reported in over 40 countries.

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An initial analysis by scientists in Denmark shows no differences in hospitalizations for BA.2 compared with the original omicron. Scientists there are still looking into this version's infectiousness and how well current vaccines work against it. It's also unclear how well treatments will work against it.

Doctors also don’t yet know for sure if someone who’s already had COVID-19 caused by omicron can be sickened again by BA.2. But they’re hopeful, especially that a prior omicron infection might lessen the severity of disease if someone later contracts BA.2.

Doctors are advising the same precautions they have all along: Get vaccinated and follow public health guidance about wearing masks, avoiding crowds and staying home when you’re sick.

With the Associated Press.