The Omicron BA.2 sub-type continues to attract attention as it spreads in various parts of the world including the U.S.
In several news reports and even by some healthcare experts, BA.2 has sometimes been referred to as "stealth Omicron."
While the terminology has picked up recently in terms of usage, Google Trends data shows that the term was being used online as far back as early December. This is around the same time as BA.2 was designated as a sub-variant on December 6.
Not all experts agree on the usage of the term. Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, tweeted last week that BA.2 "was misdescribed as a 'stealth variant' early on."
According to Peacock, the likely reason why BA.2 has picked up the "stealth Omicron" nickname is because it is detected differently in certain COVID PCR tests compared to the more dominant version of Omicron BA.1.