CNN’s Leana Wen posted a lengthy interview on the network’s website where she urged Americans to take major steps to mitigate the spread of covid, including “tests prior to getting together with others.”
“Can you give us a quick refresher – what protective measures are effective against this very contagious BA.2 variant?” asked the cable news outlet.
Leana Wen: BA.2 is a subvariant of the Omicron variant. It appears to be even more contagious than Omicron. Like previous variants, it’s spread through direct contact and is airborne. Someone coughing and sneezing will exhale droplets that can transmit the virus. The virus can also be carried on microscopic aerosols that are expelled by breathing. In addition, surfaces may play a greater role in Omicron transmission. Someone who coughed onto their hand and then touched a door could seed virus there and transmit it to you if you touch that door and then your nose or mouth.
The protective measures we talked about early in the pandemic still work against Omicron. Masks work very well, though here I would urge that people wear an N95 or equivalent mask, such as a KN95 or KF94. A simple cloth mask is much less effective, especially against a variant as contagious as BA.2.
We also have more tools at our disposal than we did in 2020. Namely, we have vaccines and boosters, which protect very well against severe illness and also reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection. Testing prior to getting together with others tells people if they are infectious and need to avoid the gathering. That’s another key preventive measure that we now have access to.
Read the full interview here.