The New York State Health Department on Thursday confirmed the first cases of the so-called “stealth” omicron variant.
The department said it was aware of four cases of the BA.2 variant, which scientists say are somewhat harder to detect than the original version of omicron, between January 7 and January 12.
At present, the World Health Organization is not considering the “concern” variant, but it is increasingly being discovered in many countries, raising the question of whether BA.2 could be even more transmissible or have a higher immune release potential compared to omicron.
So far, BA.2 has been detected in at least 49 countries, according to COV-lineages.org. It has been sequenced in at least 20 states, including New Jersey and Connecticut.