The White House COVID-19 Team is announcing its strategy to manage the BA.5 variant.
The strategy relies on ensuring that Americans continue to have easy and convenient access to the vaccines, treatments, tests, and other tools that protect against and treat COVID-19. These tools – even in the face of BA.5 – work to prevent serious illness, keep people out of the hospital, and save lives – and prevent nearly all COVID-19 deaths with them.
BA.4 and BA.5 – subvariants of the Omicron variant – now make up 80 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with BA.5 accounting for a majority of cases. Early indications signal that BA.5 may have some increased ability to escape immunity, including from prior infections, meaning it has the potential to cause the numbers of infections to rise in the coming weeks. This potential for increase is greatest where fewer people are up to date on their vaccinations and there is increased waning of immunity from vaccines.
More than 222 million Americans are fully vaccinated, over 106 million people have at least their first booster shot, and virtually every American of every age is eligible for vaccination. And, more courses of lifesaving treatments available and being used than ever before, as well as widely available at-home tests and high-quality masks.
To confront BA.5, the Administration will continue mobilizing the full strength and capabilities of the federal government and working with state and local leaders, healthcare workers, the private sector, and community- and faith-based organizations to ensure that the American people have easy and convenient access to and use vaccines, tests, and treatments.