A subvariant of omicron has gradually become more widespread in Alaska in recent weeks.
Speaking on Talk of Alaska Tuesday morning, Alaska chief epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin said the BA.2 variant is gaining ground across the country, including Alaska.
“Probably about a quarter of the cases are BA.2 now in the U.S.,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a little bit higher in Alaska.”
The first Alaska case of BA.2 was detected in early January, according to state data. By mid-February, more than a third of Alaska cases were the BA.2 subvariant. McLaughlin said while the BA. 2 mutation can be spread more easily, it doesn’t appear to lead to more severe symptoms. “This strain is about 30 percent more transmissible than the BA.1 strain, but it’s not more virulent,” McLaughlin said.