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Expert stuns Karl Stefanovic as she warns of MORE contagious Covid variant BA.2

Omicron’s SON: Karl Stefanovic remains CONVINCED after health expert warns of new Covid-19 variant even more contagious

  • Expert warned that BA.2 version of Omicron could be more contagious than its ancestor
  • Variant has been detected all over Europe and growing fast in Denmark
  • University of Melbourne epidemiologist said tribe was called ‘son of Omicron’
  • “It can lengthen our waves and it can take longer to get out,” she said



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A version of Omicron even more contagious than the original strain could expand the deadly latest wave of cases in Australia, a leading health expert has warned.

The new BA.2 subvariant has been detected across Europe and already accounts for 45 percent of all cases in Denmark.

Scientists fear the ‘stealth’ variant may also be even more difficult to trace than previous strains, as it can only be confirmed by lab analysis rather than a PCR test.

University of Melbourne epidemiologist Professor Nancy Baxter said early data showed BA.2 could be even more contagious than its more common BA.1 predecessor.

‘There’s a variation they call the ‘son of Omicron,'” she told an obviously concerned Today show host Karl Stefanovic on Thursday. “It’s more of a cousin, it’s a variant related to Omicron.”

Pedestrians in masks walk in front of the Sydney Opera House on Circular Quay on Tuesday.  A leading health expert has warned that a new, more contagious version of Omicron is about to land on Australia's shores

Pedestrians in masks walk in front of the Sydney Opera House on Circular Quay on Tuesday. A leading health expert has warned that a new, more contagious version of Omicron is about to land on Australia’s shores

She said it was unclear whether BA.2 would exacerbate the latest wave of Omicron cases or if it would even land on Australian shores.

“It seems that if people can believe it, it could be more contagious than Omicron,” she said.

“So if it gets here, it can extend our waves and take a lot longer to get out. But we don’t know enough yet, so stay tuned.’

“That’s bad news, for us to hear that again,” Stefanovic replied.

Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Wednesday that the BA.2 subvariant seemed more contagious than the original Omicron variant.

The BA.1 lineage is responsible for 98 percent of all cases worldwide, but in Denmark this has been pushed aside by BA.2, which became the dominant strain in the second week of January.

The UK Health Security Agency has designated BA.2 as a variant under investigation and says it may have a growth benefit.

Preliminary calculations suggest that BA.2 could be 1.5 times more contagious than BA.1, Denmark’s infectious disease authority, the Statens Serum Institute (SSI), said in a note Wednesday.

“There is a variant that they call the .  to mention "son of Omicron"' University of Melbourne health expert Professor Nancy Baxter told an obviously concerned Karl Stefanovic on Thursday

“There is a variant that they call the .  to mention "son of Omicron"' University of Melbourne health expert Professor Nancy Baxter told an obviously concerned Karl Stefanovic on Thursday

“There’s a variant they call the ‘son of Omicron,'” University of Melbourne health expert Professor Nancy Baxter told an obviously concerned Karl Stefanovic on Thursday.

The chart above shows daily Covid cases per million people in Denmark (red) and the UK (green).  It reveals that Denmark, where BA.2 accounts for 45 percent of cases, has seen a much larger spike in cases

The chart above shows daily Covid cases per million people in Denmark (red) and the UK (green).  It reveals that Denmark, where BA.2 accounts for 45 percent of cases, has seen a much larger spike in cases

The chart above shows daily Covid cases per million people in Denmark (red) and the UK (green). It reveals that Denmark, where BA.2 accounts for 45 percent of cases, has seen a much larger spike in cases

Pictured are motorists being tested on Wednesday at a pop-up Covid clinic in north Melbourne

Pictured are motorists being tested on Wednesday at a pop-up Covid clinic in north Melbourne

Pictured are motorists being tested on Wednesday at a pop-up Covid clinic in north Melbourne

Above are all countries where BA.2 has been spotted.  Cases are growing in Denmark, Germany and the UK

Above are all countries where BA.2 has been spotted.  Cases are growing in Denmark, Germany and the UK

Above are all countries where BA.2 has been spotted. Cases are growing in Denmark, Germany and the UK

However, an initial analysis by the institute revealed no difference in the risk of hospitalization for BA.2 compared to BA.1.

“There is some evidence that it is more contagious, especially to the unvaccinated, but that it can also infect people who have been vaccinated to a greater extent,” SSI technical director Tyra Grove Krause said at the briefing.

This could mean that the peak of the epidemic in Denmark will extend a little further into February than previously predicted, Krause said.

BA.2 cases have also been recorded in the UK, Sweden and Norway, but to a much lesser extent than in Denmark.

Denmark announced plans on Wednesday to lift the last of its Covid-19 restrictions on February 1, the last country in Europe to do so despite record high daily infection rates.

What do we know about BA.2? Do we have to worry?

What is BA.2?

This is an offshoot of the Omicron line.

It carries all of its parent’s mutations, but also has a change that makes it more difficult to detect using PCR tests.

Omicron’s outbreak was easy to track because it has an S gene falling out, unlike Delta, meaning it shows up easily in PCR tests.

But this is not the case with BA.2.

Is it more dangerous?

Early analysis suggests that this subvariant is slightly more transmissible than Omicron.

It’s already the dominant species in parts of India and the Philippines, scientists say, with cases now increasing in the UK, Germany and Denmark.

But there’s no evidence to suggest it’s more likely to cause serious illness.

Do I have to worry?

dr. Tom Peacock, one of the first scientists to warn the world about Omicron, says there’s no need to be overly concerned.

The expert from Imperial College London said he doesn’t think the variant will have a “substantial impact” on the current wave.

Professor Francois Ballous, a geneticist at Imperial College London, says people who are not obsessed with Covid should treat it as the same disease as Omicron.

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