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The following is an excerpt from The Hill via Yahoo! News.
A new omicron subvariant known as BA.5 now comprises a majority of U.S. Covid-19 cases, according to data released Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The data is a sign of the rise of the highly transmissible subvariant, which has prompted concern about a new increase in cases.
BA.5, along with a related subvariant known as BA.4, has mutations that have shown an increased ability to evade the protection from vaccines and previous infection.
BA.5 now makes up 53.6 percent of U.S. cases, according to the CDC, and BA.4 makes up another 16.5 percent, putting the two together at around 70 percent of infections.
“Omicron subvariants BA.4 & BA.5 are even more mutated than the original Omicron, which means that our immune systems are having a harder time recognizing these new subvariants, regardless of whether we’ve previously been vaccinated or infected,” tweeted Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert at New York University. "We are also seeing early hints that Omicron subvariants BA.4 & BA.5 may be more virulent (causing more severe disease) than the original Omicron.”