The more transmittable and infectious COVID-19 Omicron subvariant BA.2 is now confirmed to be in Guam.
More infections, more hospitalizations, and more deaths are expected due to a high number of people in Guam with comorbidities and underlying conditions, said the former head of Governor’s Physicians Advisory Group, Dr. Hao Nguyen, in an interview with KUAM News.
It is not known if the subvariant is here in Palau yet. Palau’s Ministry of Health and Human Services has not received the results of the samples sent out in December but said that based on the characteristics of the current cases, they still assume that it is an Omicron variant.
MHHS has not responded to inquiries regarding the new variant, but according to the same report from Guam, the new subvariant is more infectious and has a high number of breakthrough cases, meaning vaccinated people getting infected.
Palau, which is very similar to Guam (with a high number of people with underlying conditions), may expect to see an increase in the number of infections and deaths with this new subvariant BA.2.
Experts who were on the island a couple of weeks ago predicted that Palau will hit its peak of positive cases this week and will start to decline by next week.
This may change if the subvariant gets into Palau. The number of cases may continue to rise, prolonging the number of days before Palau sees a drop in positive COVID-19 cases.
So far no other protective measures have been recommended for this new subvariant except to get vaccinated, get booster shots, and practice health safety measures: wash your hands, wear a mask, and maintain social distancing.