NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The BA.2 subvariant of omicron is now driving the spike in COVID-19 cases in the United States.

Doctors say this subvariant is even more contagious than previous variants.

According to the CDC, right now 99 percent of all COVID-19 infections are the subvariant of omicron BA.2, and cases are expected to continue to rise.

Right now according to the Louisiana Department of Health, there are 597 new cases, 1 death, and 58 patients in the hospital with COVID.

Doctors say that BA.2 is more contagious than Delta and BA.1, but it is important to know that it is not more severe than previous variants of the virus.

Dr. Jeffrey Elder with LCMC Health says people need to stay aware of this subvariant.

“It is really getting close to one of the most contagious viruses that we’ve seen in the world, which means a lot more people can get sick from it,” Dr. Elder said.

Dr. Elder said that despite having vaccines and people previously infected with other COVID-19 variants, BA.2 is still extremely disappointing because of how easily it spreads.

“The good news is we are not seeing as many people with severe illness and ending up in the hospital because of COVID-19,” he said.

“If you haven’t been vaccinated then get vaccinated, if you’re eligible for a booster, get a booster. People just have to know that it is out there and you just have to be careful with it,” Dr. Elder said.

Dr. Elder says that hopefully by the Fall that there will be new variant-specific vaccines.

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