HOUSTON - When it comes to COVID-19, the summer outlook doesn’t look too great, according to experts. BA.4 and BA.5 are two new COVID-19 sub-variants in the latest Omicron lineage.
They could fuel ongoing transmission in the area, according to Houston Methodist Hospital.
"These new variants are starting to slowly increase is that they have shown to have the ability to reinfect people that have previously been exposed to BA1 or BA2. So people who had the Omicron infection in March and April, the BA4 and BA5 have a difference spike protein and are able to perhaps evade some of the immunity from prior infection of omicron," said Dr. Wesley Long, medical director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist.
"We are sort of in this slow march upwards in cases already. The thought is with BA4 and BA5 now coming into play, they may help continue to drive cases forward into the months of July and August and continue to drive cases that way."
In Harris County, the percentage of people who test positive is now 18.6, more than double the rate in mid-May, but to put it in perspective - COVID hospitalizations are comparatively low.
It is also important to note that the COVID surge is hard to accurately quantify since so many people take those at home tests.