Covid near me: Warning that Covid is 'not over' as the BA.2 Stealth Omicron variant accounts for 40% of cases in Blackpool
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The Omicron sub-variant, officially called BA.2, is now dominant across England, analysis shows.
BA.2 accounted for 57% of cases in England in the last week of February, up from a quarter just two weeks before, according to research by the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
It comes amid a recent rise in both cases and hospitalisations.
In Blackpool, in the week ending February 26, 40 per cent of cases were BA.2, with 17 out of 42 cases placing the resort as having the 266th highest amount of the strain out of 314 local authorities.
The highest proportion of the variant in the Fylde coast was in Fylde, where the strain accounted for 42 per cent of cases, while in Wyre the BA.2 strain accounted for 38% of cases in the seven days to February 26.
Stealth Omicron got its nickname because it is more difficult to differentiate from Delta than the original Omicron variant, BA.1.
It is also more contagious but early studies suggest it carries no greater risk of hospitalisation.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said case numbers were lower than at the peak of the Omicron wave.
She said: “However, the increasing presence of the BA.2 sub-lineage of Omicron and the recent slight increase in infections in those over 55 show that the pandemic is not over and that we can expect to see Covid circulating at high levels.”