The U.K. authorities have identified a new COVID variant as one that is under investigation investigation investigation, according to reports.
The variant, BA.2, has been detected in 40 countries, including the U.S., U.K., India, Germany, and Australia, and has been linked to over 8,000 cases worldwide. According to The Hill, little is known about the variant, including its transmissibility and severity. The effectiveness of current vaccines remains uncertain.
The BA.2 new Covid variant is believed to be a subvariant of the Omicron variant, known as BA.1. It has been gaining ground in countries like Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, overtaking the original Omicron variant.
Washington State officials confirmed two cases of the variant earlier this month. The number of cases in the new Covid variant in the U.S. is estimated to be around 100.
COVID-19 hospitalizations drop
I’m not sure how useful it is to count new cases as a way to measure the pandemic’s spread, but nationwide, the new Covid variant and the number of new cases is declining. Since home testing and state reporting are spotty, many people who are infected are likely to go unrecognized.
The number of hospitalizations is also declining. Still, according to the latest data on intensive care unit capacity, a lot of the country’s hospitals are under a lot of pressure.
The truth behind COVID-era prison releases
New data from the Department of Justice indicates that prison populations declined in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.
In fact, the decrease was not due to prison releases, but instead a dramatic drop in prison and jail admissions.
In a survey of 400 local jails around the country, PPI found that most have returned to pre-pandemic levels of incarcerated people, and one in 14 houses more people than it was designed to house.