Mass. Health Officials Keeping a Careful Eye on COVID-19 Cases Abroad

A new subvariant of omicron, called BA.2, is fueling an outbreak overseas, and people back here at home are frustrated

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Local doctors are keeping a close eye on the surging COVID-19 cases in Europe, saying we need to prepare for the next wave in the United States.

A new subvariant of omicron, called BA.2, is fueling an outbreak overseas, and people back here at home are frustrated.



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"I wouldn’t say I’m numb to it, but I’m definitely exhausted," said Liz Tomasi, who grew up in Lawrence.

Germany had more than 250,000 new cases at the end of last week. Britain and the Netherlands are seeing more than 60,000 new cases a day.

Now, health experts in Boston are bracing for the possibility of the next wave here.

"I encourage people not to panic simply based on number of cases," said Tufts Epidemiologist Dr. Shira Doron.

She said it’s likely the U.S. will see an uptick in cases in the coming weeks, but that’s not a foregone conclusion.

Top Boston doctors talked about a new "Deltacron" variant, rising cases in Europe and Asia and whether a fourth vaccine dose is really necessary on NBC10 Boston’s weekly “COVID Q&A” series.

"In South Africa, it is important to note that BA.2 is predominant, and they have not seen an increase in cases," Doron explained.

The CDC said right now, BA.2 or “stealth omicron” makes up about 25% of the cases across the country. Here in New England, about 38% of positive cases.

According to recent studies, it is not more severe, but is 30% more transmissible.

With Lawrence down to fewer than 10 cases a day, Health Director Mike Armano is proud of how far the city has come.

"There were days when we had over a thousand cases," he said.

As he keeps a close eye on BA.2, Armano knows there’s still a long way to go.

"We are not stopping, this is not something we are taking a break with," he explained. “We have to stay vigilant we have to stay ahead of it.”

The best way to protect against this new subvariant is to get fully vaccinated.

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