To ensure we are equipping our readers with all the information they need, we will continue to report on all travel, safety, and COVID-related news that could impact a Disney Parks visit.
The situation with COVID-19 continues to develop and change throughout the United States and the world, and if you’re heading to Florida soon, there’s a recent update you need to know about.
We’ll start with some more positive news. According to WPTV West Palm Beach, cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant have continued to decrease in South Florida after reaching a peak last month.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Florida had 16,883 new COVID-19 cases compared to the record 77,052 it saw back on January 8th.
But things are still complicated. WPTV notes that the latest COVID-19 case numbers in Florida show that case levels are still “substantially higher” than what they were at their lowest levels before the surge from the Delta COVID-19 variant which took place last year.
And now WPTV shares that reports this week have indicated that the new BA.2 substrain of the Omicron COVID-19 variant (known as “stealth” Omicron) has been found in Florida.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, 2 cases of the BA.2 subvariant have been found in Florida within a 7-day span. So far what is known is that the individuals found to be positive were a 69-year-old female and a 32-year-old man. What counties they live in has not been shared.
So what do we know about BA.2 (the “stealth” Omicron) so far? WPTV says it received this “stealth” Omicron nickname because it is actually harder to detect than the original Omicron variant. The Tampa Bay Times notes that it was originally detected in Denmark.
According to WPTV, scientists say that BA.2 is “gaining ground” in certain parts of the world, and it may be 1 1/2 times more contagious than the original Omicron COVID-19 variant.
As of this time, The Tampa Bay Times notes that BA.2 has been found in at least 57 countries and 29 U.S. states. The Tampa Bay Times shares that scientists still don’t know whether BA.2 will cause individuals to have more symptoms, but one report from the World Health Organization’s COVID Response Team seems to indicate that it doesn’t seem to be more severe than the original Omicron variant.
Seetha Lakshmi, medical director of Tampa General Hospital’s Global Emerging Diseases Institute, has said that there is some evidence to suggest that BA.2 is similar enough to the original Omicron variant that vaccines should be able to protect against severe symptoms.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, one study “indicates the new variant may be 2-3 times more infectious than the original omicron strain, even among vaccinated and boosted individuals. Unvaccinated individuals are also more likely to spread the new variant, compared to BA.1.”
This is a developing situation and we’ll continue to look for more updates. Stay tuned for more news.