Temple Expert Talks About New Variant

Although COVID-19 cases and deaths have been on the decline ever since the massive wave of the Omicron variant took the world by storm a few months ago, the pandemic is not over yet.

A new strain of the Omicron variant called “BA.2” is now working its way across the globe.

This new variant is reportedly at least 30% more contagious than the previous strain of Omicron, though its symptoms remain seemingly identical.

BA.2 has already caused a surge in cases all across Europe, and the US is expected to see a rise in cases as well.

Last week, the BA.2 variant accounted for more than 23% of all COVID cases in the US.

Graciela Jaschek, an epidemiology professor at Temple’s College of Public Health, spoke on how this new variant could easily spread amongst the Temple community, especially with the newly-eased mask guidelines on campus.

“There is going to be an increase in cases at Temple, particularly among those who are not wearing masks when they go [to the] food court.”

Jaschek also encouraged testing as a good way to help mitigate the spread of this new variant as much as possible.

“We may see an increase in cases, so getting tested the moment you don’t feel well, getting tested is a good strategy.”

Temple students can schedule COVID Test Appointments at any of the COVID Testing Sites on Main Campus through the Student Health Portal.

Additionally, Jaschek noted that people now have a higher immunity to COVID-19 infections and illness due to high vaccination rates among the Temple community, so BA.2 likely will not cause too much of a disruption in people’s lives, so long as the proper precautions continue to be taken.

“Even though BA.2 is more transmissible, many more people have been vaccinated, and fortunately enough, at Temple 97% of the students got vaccinated.”

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