Coronavirus cases in the U.S. are ticking up as a new, highly transmissible subvariant of omicron starts taking hold of the country.
The U.S. is averaging more than 56,000 new coronavirus cases each day. That’s up from roughly 25,000 infections reported per day in early April.
Virtually every infection across the nation is from the omicron coronavirus variant. There are several subvariants of omicron, and BA.2 – sometimes referred to as “stealth omicron” – has been the dominant strain circulating since March.
But another omicron subvariant is quickly increasing, and experts believe it could be even more transmissible than BA.2.
BA.2.12.1 was responsible for 29% of new coronavirus infections as of mid-April, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s up from 19% of cases the week prior and 14% of infections the first week in April.
“As a reminder, it was the BA.1 omicron subvariant that caused the surge early in the year,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on a call with reporters last week. “Right now, BA.1 is only about 3% of the sequences identified. We are now more commonly finding that BA.2 omicron subvariant, which makes up about 68% of circulating virus. More recently, we’re finding the BA.2.12.1 subvariant.”