Stealth Omicron Now Dominant COVID Variant in U.S.

March 29, 2022

The so-called stealth Omicron variant is now the dominant COVID-19 strain in the United States, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also known as BA.2, the strain comprised nearly 55 percent of domestic coronavirus cases for the week ending March 26.

The variant, which has been seen in higher numbers on the East Coast, was only responsible for 35 percent of cases during the week ending in March 19 and 22 percent a week before, according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.

BA. 2 now accounts for more than 70 percent of cases in the Northeast.

The Omicron subvariant is more contagious than the original but does not appear to cause more severe disease. BA.2 spreads about 1.5 times faster than the original Omicron strain, though it has not increased hospitalizations or reduced vaccine effectiveness.

The strain has been detected in high numbers throughout several other countries, including Denmark, the United Kingdom and India.