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:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


"Scrambled" is a good movie you'll want to see just for Leah McKendrick....

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show Review: ‘Scrambled’ actress Leah McKendrick was a joy to watch

Actress Leah McKendrick leaves you wanting more of her after watching "Scrambled". It's a good story about "writing what you know."

24 days ago

"The Promised Land" movie is packed with good storytelling and a fun main character....

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show Review: ‘The Promised Land’ is good storytelling with a side of Mads Mikkelsen

Good storytelling and Mads Mikkelsen make for "Promised Land" being a movie you'll want to see as soon as you can.

25 days ago

holiday shoppers get ready to start spending at city creek mall...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: All I want for Christmas is to control my holiday spending!

Amanda Dickson wants to start doing a better job of controlling her holiday spending -- putting the emphasis on people rather than stuff.

3 months ago

KSL Movie Show co-host Steve Salles says "Maestro" is a fine picture you won't want to miss....

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Maestro’ shows a renown composer, flaws and all, exquisitely

Don't miss this movie review of Bradley Cooper's portrayal of Leonard Bernstein. "Maestro" is and exquisite and real must-see picture.

3 months ago

Image of Utah's Morning News host Amanda Dickson and colleague Kate Davis, who says she is grateful...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: Social media and the importance of the radio community

Unlike social media, radio is one of the few experiences that offers everybody listening the same information at the same time.

3 months ago

Deedee Corradini, the former Salt Lake City mayor, was instrumental in getting the Olympics to Utah...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: Remembering Deedee Corradini after the Olympics news today

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini was instrumental in getting the Olympics. She would be ecstatic to see them again.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

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