Earlier this month, Chicago started seeing a slight rise in COVID-19 cases.
Top Chicago public health officials say that the BA.2 omicron subvariant will be making up most of Chicago cases by the end of the month.
But how does this subvariant compare to the BA.1 that set records in the city?
Dr. Richard Novak, head of the division of Infectious Diseases at UI Health, said the BA.2 variant is a bit more contagious than BA.1. However, he said there’s evidence from the current spike in Europe that people who have been exposed to the first wave of omicron are less likely to get the new variant.
The current spike from BA.2 in other countries but not in the U.S. can in part be attributed to a high level of immunity in the U.S., Novak said. However, that immunity won’t last forever.
“There’s a concern that your immunity might wane, particularly if you were vaccinated four to six months ago,” Novak said.
While there’s an increased interest in a second booster with the news of this subvariant, Novak said he’s unsure about exact guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The truth is the CDC is going to make an announcement that while they’re not endorsing a second booster, they’re okay with people who are at greater risk getting another booster,” Novak said.