Masking up right now doesn’t sound too bad, especially if you live in the Northeast and Midwest, which have become hotspots, according to a New York Times analysis. A new Omicron subvariant—called BA.5—is now the dominant SARS-CoV-2 strain in the United States, and early reports suggest it is spreading quickly and widely. In fact, “BA.5 gets an A-plus for contagiousness,” according to William Shaffner, MD, a professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.
We know BA.5 has become the dominant strain, but how worried should you be and what symptoms should you expect if you contract it? We break down everything you need to know about BA.5 below.
What are the main symptoms of BA.5 so far?
As of now, there haven’t been any large studies on the symptoms of BA.5, but many people who have contracted the variant have shared their symptoms.
“We’re hearing a lot about back and neck aches and pains,” Dr. Shaffner tells SELF. “It’s all anecdotal, but as people have looked at previous variants, the distinctions between the variants have not been very large.”
However, as we’ve come to realize throughout the pandemic, everyone is different. For example, one person may have a high fever and severe headache, while the other one experiences mild cold symptoms and no fever.
As for the loss of taste and smell, which have become a telltale sign of COVID, experts aren’t certain if people with BA.5 can expect to experience this symptom.
Are night sweats and loss of sleep a symptom?
Have you been waking up with night sweats and having trouble sleeping lately? While there are many reasons you may be experiencing insomnia, one cause may be BA.5.
According to Luke O’Neill, a professor of biochemistry at Trinity College in Ireland, the symptom is “another curveball” that is a result of the new subvariant colliding with immune systems resulting in a “different disease.”
Intense night sweats have also been linked to