A BA.2 surge is approaching: Here’s what you should know about this variant

Europe’s new surge is likely due to European leaders’ decisions to end all COVID-19 safety measures in their countries, combined with the rise of Omicron sublineage BA.2. As BA.2 prevalence increases here in the U.S.—and our leaders also end safety measures—we seem poised to follow in Europe’s footsteps once again. But a BA.2 surge is likely to look different from the intense Omicron surge that we experienced in December and January, in part because of leftover immunity from that Omicron surge.

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The CDC is finally publishing wastewater data—but only ten states are well-represented

This week, the CDC added wastewater tracking to its COVID-19 data dashboard. Wastewater has been an important COVID-tracking tool throughout the pandemic, but it gained more public interest in recent months as Omicron’s rapid spread showed the utility of this early warning system. While the CDC’s new wastewater tracker offers a decent picture of national COVID-19 trends, it’s basically useless for local data in the majority of states.

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BA.2 FAQ: What you should know about this Omicron offshoot

An offshoot strain of the Omicron variant has been making headlines this week as it spreads rapidly in some European and Asian countries. While the strain, called BA.2 by virologists, has not yet been identified in the U.S. in large numbers, it’s already spreading here, too: scientists have picked it up in wastewater samples in some parts of the country.

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