CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia has identified its first two cases as descendants of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, Governor Jim Justice said Friday.
The variant, which scientists call BA.2, was detected in COVID-19 patients in Berkeley and Ohio counties, Justice said at a news conference about the virus.
Dr Clay Marsh, the state’s coronavirus expert, said nearly half of US states have seen some cases of the new variant, which “may be more contagious but doesn’t appear to be as severe”. .”
Justice added that BA.2 “wasn’t more alarming to us.”
Specific genetic traits in the latest version make detection more difficult. Mutants appear more frequently in Asia and Europe.
Marsh said it appears that the initial omicron variant cases have peaked in West Virginia and are starting to decline.
However, officials remain vigilant as 1,038 people have been hospitalized with the virus, including 232 in intensive care units. Marsh said the death toll hasn’t fallen and “that’s part of the slowdown in this increase.
“We still run the risk of more deaths over the next few weeks,” he said.
Marsh and Justice urged people to get vaccinated against the virus, including booster shots.
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https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/02/04/descendant-of-omicron-variant-detected-in-west-virginia/ Descendants of Omicron Variant Discovered in West Virginia – CBS Pittsburgh