COVID’s omicron BA.5 subvariant is not as severe but doctors are watching

Written by on July 12, 2022

COVID’s omicron BA.5 subvariant is not as severe but doctors are watching

By Brittany Sweeney
July 12, 2022

COVID-19 cases are rising across the country after a decline at the beginning of summer.

A Lehigh Valley doctor says the latest omicron subvariant is even more contagious, but hospitalizations remain low.  BA.5 is now the main variant of the coronavirus infecting people.

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Dr. Timothy Friel, an infectious disease specialist and chair of the Department of Medicine at Lehigh Valley Health Network, said although this strain is the most contagious yet, the severity of disease is not increasing.  

“What we’re watching carefully is what will happen this week, next week and beyond post Fourth of July holiday, as you start to see, remember, we’ve always talked about this notion of a delay from cases leading to hospitalizations, maybe about seven to 10 days later,” Friel said. “So that’s what we’re watching.”

The number of people hospitalized at LVHN with complications from COVID-19 is relatively low right now — around 10 people, he said.

The best thing to do is to isolate yourself if you experience symptoms that include a cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing and fatigue.

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