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There's a New Omicron Subvariant. Denmark Explains Its Experience with the Mutation So Far.

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

Nearly 100 cases of the Omicron subvariant BA.2 have been identified in the United States, which is now present in nearly 50 countries around the world. As scientists continue to study whether it causes more or less severe illness than Omicron BA.1, officials in Denmark, where the subvariant is dominant, are weighing in.


"There is no evidence that the BA.2 variant causes more disease, but it must be more contagious," Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said during a news conference on Wednesday. 

Preliminary calculations suggest BA.2 could be 1.5 times more infectious than BA.1, Denmark's top infectious disease authority, Statens Serum Institut (SSI), said in a note on Wednesday.

However, an initial analysis by the institute showed no difference in the risk of hospitalisation for BA.2 compared to BA.1. (Reuters)

"There is some indication that it is more contagious, especially for the unvaccinated, but that it can also infect people who have been vaccinated to a greater extent," said SSI's technical director, Tyra Grove Krause, according to Reuters.

Despite high case numbers, Denmark announced on Wednesday that it is ending its Covid-19 restrictions next week, following a similar loosening of restrictions by the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands. 


“Tonight we can shrug our shoulders and find the smile again. We have incredibly good news, we can now remove the last coronavirus restrictions in Denmark,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a news conference.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, meanwhile, cautioned the pandemic isn't over. 

“There are different scenarios for how the pandemic could play out, and how the acute phase could end – but it is dangerous to assume that omicron will be the last variant, or that we are in the endgame.” 

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