First Reported Case of ‘Stealth’ Omicron Detected on CT Scan – NBC Connecticut


The first case of the COVID-19 omicron BA.2 subvariant also known as the “stealth variant” has been detected in Connecticut.

Infectious disease experts tell NBC Connecticut the name comes from the fact that sometimes the variant can be difficult to detect in testing.

The BA.2 variant is potentially more infectious than the Omicron BA.1, according to these experts.

The BA.1 omicron variant led to a spike in cases last month into the new year.

According to the Department of Public Health, there is at least one reported case of the “stealth omicron” variant, which was detected in a patient in Fairfield County. The sample was taken on January 8.

“What we’re going to be doing over the next few weeks is really watching our numbers very closely, looking to see if any additional variants are identified of this particular subset,” said the Department of Health Commissioner, the Dr Manisha Juthani. “This particular BA.2 isolate that came from Fairfield County and earlier in January. Since then we haven’t identified any more, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been ‘other cases that have not been sequencing’.

Dr. Juthani tells NBC Connecticut that the state is well positioned to deal with the variant.

“We mask, we test, we get people vaccinated and boosted,” Dr Juthani said. “Our situation is improving in terms of how we handle this virus.”

But Dr. Juthani, along with other health experts, says it’s still early to determine how this variant is different from the Omicron BA.1.

“Right now, no credible scientist has noted that this new variant is more virulent, that it’s resistant to vaccines, all those kind of big questions that we’ve been asking the scientific community when there’s a new variant,” Dr Anthony said. Santella, professor of health administration and policy at the University of New Haven: “This is not something unheard of or unique to the COVID pandemic, the real question is what is its impact on human health”.

Sewage is another way the Department of Public Health and other state partners like Yale University have used to determine where the virus came from in the community.

“We will be monitoring the sewage levels of the virus to be able to help us know if anything changes in our communal assessment of the virus,” Dr Juthani said. “The CDC has also identified Bridgeport and Waterbury as two sites where they will put sewage testing online for reporting starting tomorrow.”

Bobby Abate is a retired Hartford Public School teacher who told NBC Connecticut he retired because of COVID-19 to protect himself and his loved ones.

“We had one variation, then we had another variation and now there’s another one, I don’t know when it’s going to stop,” Abate said. “35 years of work and it ruins my retirement plans because I like to go out and see people and do things but you are limited in what you can do while trying to protect yourself.”

Dr. Santella tells NBC Connecticut that we could see fewer mutations if public health measures are followed with increased vaccination rates and boosters for those eligible.

“The more we hunker down and comply with these public health mitigation strategies, the less likely the virus is to mutate, change and continue to impact human health in terms of cases, hospitalizations” , said Dr. Santella.

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