The new BA.5 omicron subvariant carries the symptom of the delta variant

“We’ve started to get anecdotal evidence that there’s anosmia, which is this loss of smell,” Dr Shane Fernando said.

FORT WORTH, Texas — If it seems like a lot of people you know are infected with COVID-19 for the second or third time, you’re not crazy.

If it looks like infected people are showing symptoms after being asymptomatic the previous time, you’re not making that up either.

“These two subvariants are just very good at infecting people,” said Dr. Shane Fernando, clinical epidemiologist at the UNT Health Science Center.

Dr. Fernando said that the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants are essentially like children of the parent omicron variant.

BA.5 is the major problem child.

“It’s most responsible for the waves of COVID around the world,” Dr Fernando said.

The BA.5 subvariant currently accounts for approximately 80% of current COVID infections. Dr Fernando said it spreads about 4.2 times faster than the omicron variant and resists natural immunity well from past infections. However, he said it was still important to keep up to date with vaccines and boosters.

“That severity of disease is determined by whether you are vaccinated or not,” Dr. Fernando said.

Stephen Love, president and CEO of the DFW Hospital Council, said Thursday that there were 753 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in hospitals across North Texas. He said that number continues to increase slowly, but steadily. He said a large majority of these patients are unvaccinated.

The BA.5 subvariant, like the omicron variant, has symptoms such as congestion, sore throat, fatigue, and persistent cough.

“It almost feels like having a little allergic reaction,” Dr. Fernando said.

However, recent cases show that patients who tested positive for the BA.5 subvariant had a “rewind” symptom.

“We’ve started to get anecdotal evidence that there’s anosmia, which is this loss of smell,” Dr. Fernando said. “It’s something we haven’t seen in a while. This was very common with the delta variant. Do you remember the delta? It feels like an eternity ago.

Dr. Fernando said the studies, like the subvariant, are new. He said it is unclear how many patients with the BA.5 subvariant have lost their sense of smell.

The CDC recently raised the COVID-19 risk levels to “high” for Tarrant, Collin and Dallas counties. This level comes with the recommendation to wear masks indoors.

Last week, Denton County went from a “low” to “high” risk level.

“The thing to remember is that this virus is still here. It’s still infecting people and still killing people,” Dr Fernando said.

Leave a Comment