Opinion: Meet the new highly contagious variant of COVID-19 — BA.5

Jul 15, 2022, 3:00 PM | Updated: Nov 16, 2022, 2:48 pm
new variant...
FILE: In this photo illustration, an at-home COVID-19 test by Abbott shows a positive result. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — Do you know anyone who has COVID 19 right now? They may have avoided it this whole time and are only now experiencing the cough and exhaustion that often accompany the virus.

Well, that was me! I was secretly proud of myself for not catching it these last two-plus years. I wore my mask diligently, got my vaccine and booster, and I’ve been back to work like normal for well over a year now with no problem.

Until three weeks ago. Bam! Fever, cough, elephant sitting on my chest, too tired to read.

Meet the new variant of COVID-19 — BA.5

The new subvariant of COVID-19 spreads fast. It’s called BA.5.

“It is the most transmissible, the most contagious, meaning you are at greater odds of getting Covid from this one if you haven’t had it in the past,” Dr. Simone Wildes, an infectious diseases physician at South Shore Health in Weymouth, Massachusetts, told me this morning on Utah’s Morning News.

Well, that explains my getting sick, I guess.

There are some unique things about the new variant that we should know. “It’s considered partially immune evasive,” Dr. Wildes said. “Which means that if you’ve been vaccinated and boosted, or you’ve had Covid in the past, you may not get as much protection from your infection or from your vaccines as we’ve seen with other variants.”

However, the doctor reminded me that vaccines still prevent severe illness and death, even if they don’t keep us from getting COVID-19 altogether, and are important for you and your family.

Pharmaceutical companies are developing vaccine boosters that address some of the BA.5 issues, but Dr. Wildes said they likely won’t be ready until the fall. Current booster recommendations are for people over 50 and those with weakened immune systems.

No need for mask mandates yet, except in Los Angeles

Infections are going up with BA.5 in Utah and around the country. Does that mean we’re going back to mask mandates?  “In some places, yes,” Dr. Wildes believes. “In particular, in Los Angeles County the cases have been really elevated. Based on the CDC guidelines, they meet the criteria. Unless their numbers turn around drastically, they’re going to be headed for universal masks for indoor spaces.”

Related reading:

Today’s Top Stories


From "The Story of Change" told by citizens...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: We are citizens, not consumers.

Because we act like consumers, we stand at a distance, judgmental and opinionated, but never about our own role.
3 months ago
Follow @amandadickson...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: Is Democracy on the ballot?

At its core, what is our democracy based on? The USA believes in the integrity of the vote and the peaceful transfer of power that follows.
3 months ago
snow memories...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: As winter approaches, I ask, ‘What are your snow memories?’

As the first snow of winter begins to fall in Salt Lake City, KSL NewsRadio host Amanda Dickson recalls her memories of snow.
3 months ago
View from my son's seats at the game...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: BYU fans — please don’t boo your team

Aiden's first game in a college stadium was the BYU vs. Baylor game this year. He talked about his sport-induced joy for days.
3 months ago
First day on the job. Photo, Amanda Dickson...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: My new side hustle — substitute teaching in Salt Lake City

I don't know when I was more nervous, the first time I ran the board at KSL NewsRadio or my first time substitute teaching 5th graders.
4 months ago
Follow @amandadickson...
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: Working Conference Weekend

Some of the weekends that I remember best and thoroughly enjoyed were conference weekends. Times were different, but the memories hold true.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Opinion: Meet the new highly contagious variant of COVID-19 — BA.5