Hawaii Department of Health officials have detected eight specimens of a sub-variant of omicron that they fear might eventually overtake the now-dominant version of omicron that’s behind the latest Covid-19 surge.

Free Covid-19 testing at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.  I got there after 10am, very few people, almost no line at all.
Hawaii coronavirus daily cases have dropped compared with previous weeks but were still above 1,900 new daily cases Friday. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

The sub-variant BA.2 was first found in South Africa in Nov. 2021. Hawaii health officials say there’s currently no data that it’s more transmissible than BA.1, the currently dominant omicron sub-variant, but that they suspect it might be more transmissible given how BA.2 overtook BA.1 in Denmark.

“It may be that we’re seeing the beginning of the emergence of BA.2,” said Edward Desmond, who leads the state laboratories division at the Health Department. “It is possible that the introduction of BA.2 will slow down or delay the end of this surge.”

Omicron makes up 99% of Covid-19 specimens in Hawaii, while delta makes up just 1%, according to the state’s latest variant report released Friday. Desmond said the BA.2 specimens are most likely from Oahu.

Quality journalism takes time.

A story that takes fives minutes to read often takes days to report.
 
Quality journalism takes time and resources to produce, but with support from readers like you, Civil Beat can investigate issues and publish stories that are otherwise difficult to fund.
 
Become a donor and help support Civil Beat’s next investigation.

About the Author