Omicron BA.2 subvariant fuels new global surge of the pandemic

As the deepening war in Ukraine threatens to escalate into a direct confrontation between the US-NATO powers and Russia, there has been a parallel but almost entirely unreported escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic. These two interconnected global crises are hurling mankind into catastrophe.

The most significant hotspot of the pandemic is now Hong Kong, where per capita rates of infections and deaths have dwarfed all previous surges in every country in the world. Soon after infections spiraled out of control in mid-February, hospitals and then morgues exceeded capacity, with the relatively less vaccinated elderly population most severely affected.

On Monday, the 7-day average of daily new deaths per 1 million people in Hong Kong reached 29.18. This is over 50 percent higher than the peak of 18.31 reached in the United Kingdom on January 23, 2021, nearly triple the United States’ peak of 10.22 on January 13, 2021, and higher than the previous world record of 26.2 set in Peru on April 23, 2021. COVID-19 deaths in Hong Kong continue to rise exponentially and could surpass 50 per 1 million people in the coming days.

Significantly, the BA.2 Omicron subvariant, with an I1221T mutation on the spike protein, accounts for 100 percent of all sequenced infections in Hong Kong. The city is a canary in the coal mine for the next stage of the pandemic, in which the BA.2 subvariant is forecast to become dominant worldwide.

As with the global spread of the BA.1 Omicron subvariant last December, the total reopening of the world economy is causing BA.2 to rapidly spread internationally. Contrary to the narrative spun by the corporate media that COVID-19 is now “endemic” and a stable “new normal” has been reached, reality has come crashing down once again in the third year of this unprecedented crisis.

Only 37 days after official global infections reached a peak of 3.44 million on January 24, 2022, the decline abruptly stopped at 1.48 million on March 2 and is once again rising steadily, marking the start of the latest global surge of the pandemic.

BA.2 accounts for over a third of all sequenced infections globally and is driving the new wave of the pandemic. It is now the dominant variant in 34 of 75 countries being monitored by covariants.org. And it accounts for at least 40 percent of infections in 7 of the top 10 countries with the most daily new cases: Vietnam (42 percent), Germany (63), Russia (41), the Netherlands (53), the UK (57 ), Austria (40) and Malaysia (73).

After weeks of decline, hospitalizations in England rose sharply by 15.6 percent last week across all age groups, with a staggering 26 percent rise among children ages 6-17. In the United States, BA.2 is rising exponentially, with the Northeast region experiencing the most rapid growth.

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