OK, I’ve been out in the grocery and to the Post Office without masking, and today my lungs just don’t want to work again. What is it this time? Omicron BA.2 or something else?
Back in December, people were referring to Omicron as a milder form of the coronavirus. That illusion was created by it hitting vaccinated people. Where the vaccine protection has eroded or for a person who is unvaccinated, Omicron is only mild when compared to being dead. The constant feeling of suffocation just isn’t fun.
BA.2 has gone from 16% of new cases in the US in mid-March to 75% today, and is driving increases in cases across most of the US. There are two new subvariants of BA,2 that appear to be surging even faster — BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1.(2)
However, Omicron and its variants aren’t the only game in town. We also have the spread of the Heartland virus, first identified in Missouri in 2009. A version of this virus was recently found in Georgia, and shows signs of rapid mutation. It also has the potential to kill.(3) This virus has been found in 11 states and there is no treatment for it. Since it is something for which the medical community hasn’t been testing, we don’t know the number of deaths to be attributed to it. One death in Georgia was definitively due to Heartland. Cases are expected to surge this summer as people spend more time where the ticks are.
For those who think SARS-CoV-2 is just like any other virus, just how comforting is that thought now?