"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

New CDC notification again points to the BA.2.86 COVID variant

November 28, 2023 – An emerging variant of COVID-19 called BA.2.86 that raised alarm earlier this summer has landed on the CDC's radar again.

It said the variant accounted for nearly 9% of cases within the two-week period ending Saturday, up from 3% within the previous two weeks Data released on Monday by the CDC. The estimates should not precise and the CDC said the actual percentage of cases could possibly be between 5 and 15%.

The CDC took the bizarre step on Monday of releasing a selected statement on the rise in BA.2.86 cases. The variant attracted global attention over the summer due to its different makeup in comparison with other distinguished variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, raising the potential that the brand new variant is more able to causing infections. But after widespread interest in BA.2.86, its spread wasn't as widespread as expected, so it wasn't listed as a definite variant on the CDC variant tracker list for months.

“At this time, BA.2.86 does not appear to be causing an increase in infections or hospitalizations in the United States,” the CDC wrote in its Monday statement advisory. “At this point, it is not possible to know whether BA.2.86 infection causes different symptoms than other variants. In general, symptoms of COVID-19 are similar across variants. The type of symptoms and their severity typically depend more on a person’s immunity than on the variant causing the infection.”

BA.2.86 is now the third commonest variant circulating within the U.S., behind HV.1 and EG.5, which together account for about 45% of all U.S. COVID-19 cases. All three come from the Omicron lineage of the virus.

About 8% of all COVID tests reported to the CDC were positive within the week ending Nov. 18, a decrease in comparison with recent weeks. But Indicators That's because severe cases of the disease have been increasing recently, including an increase in emergency room visits for COVID, hospitalizations and deaths.