The omicron subvariant, which is considered more transmissible than the original omicron strain, became the dominant strain spreading across the U.S. last month.
Cases from the subvariant have been significantly increasing each week, according to CDC data. In late February, it made up just 7% of infections. One month later, it was responsible for 57% of cases, and now it causes nearly 3 in 4 new infections.
While the national daily average of new cases appears to be holding steady at roughly 25,000 additional infections reported each day, some states have started reporting increases in cases. The U.S. is averaging around 570 deaths per day from the coronavirus – the lowest number reported since August 2021.
“Cases are ticking up as we thought they might,” President Joe Biden said last week while urging Congress to secure additional coronavirus funding.
But experts don’t expect BA.2 to cause another coronavirus surge. Instead, they predict a mild uptick in infections.
In anticipation of waning protection from vaccines and a potential surge in the fall, the Food and Drug Administration last week authorized a second coronavirus booster shot for Americans ages 50 and older at least four months after their third shot. The agency’s vaccine committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss future use of coronavirus booster shots.
The appetite for more coronavirus booster shots may be low. According to CDC data, just under 50% of Americans who are eligible for a booster shot have gotten one.