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New omicron variant detected in Mass., MGH data show

COVID data out of Massachusetts General Hospital show a new version of the omicron variant is in the state, but in very small numbers.

The variant, known as BA.2, will likely increase in Massachusetts as it is elsewhere that cases have been detected, said MGH Dr. Jacob Lemieux.

In those countries, BA.2 is extending the wave of the first omicron version, called BA.1, but does not appear to be causing a new surge.

"So it looks like BA.2 may decelerate the drop-off in cases and may lead to some ongoing transmission," Lemieux said, "but it’s probably not going to radically reshape the pandemic in the way that BA.1 did."

BA.2 is thought to be more transmissible than the omicron variant that caused a spike in cases last month, so doctors urge continued caution.

It was first detected in the U.S. last week in California, Texas and Washington.

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Martha Bebinger Twitter Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.

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