COVID Subvariants Discovered as Summer Nears

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As many Bay Area residents are planning summer trips, new COVID variants are starting to make themselves known.

"There is BA.4 and BA.5 that has been detected in the wastewater," said Dr. Marlene Wolfe of Emory University.

She has been tracking our wastewater content, and said that while it's early, there is always concern the newly discovered strains might spread quickly.

"BA.4 and 5 are at very low levels right now,” said Wolfe. “We would say somewhere maybe around 1% of the total concentration in wastewater, so it's very early, low detection of that."

The subvariants are fueling cases in South Africa and parts of Europe.

We're in the middle of a COVID surge and it's showing no signs of slowing just yet. On top of that, a new concern of sub variants showing up in the South Bay. NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to UCSF’s Dr. Peter Chin-Hong for some insight.

Doctors said they're not surprised to see new strains here — they also say it's too soon to know if these two are dangerous.

"There's always a lag between what we see in the wastewater and what we see in the community,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong of UCSF, saying safety is always the best route when dealing with whatever is coming our way.

"We can just be prepared and try to protect ourselves as much as we can, but never be worried, never be freaked out, never be fearful of going into the world, because we have the tools to keep everyone away from the hospital right now,” said Chin-Hong.

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