BA.2.86 Covid variant in New York now


While a specimen is yet to be found from a local resident, it is almost certainly circulating here.

Our Bureau

New York City, NY

Dr Ashwin Vasan, the NYC health commissioner informed that BA.2.86 variant, which has been seen in other parts of the US, was recently detected in New York City’s sewage. While a specimen is yet to be found from a local resident, it is almost certainly circulating here.

Based on the degree of mutations – while vaccinated people continue to be protected against serious illness – this variant may be more likely to evade immunity that has developed from vaccination or prior infection than earlier variants. But there is currently no indication that it causes more severe illness. Dr Vasan also informed that the situation continued to be monitored carefully, alongside their colleagues at the US. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

As cases rise, precautions become increasingly important, especially for the most vulnerable New Yorkers who are older, disabled, or have underlying health conditions.  Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, along with other proven prevention tools – like masking, testing, and staying home when sick – continue to be our best defense against COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. Antibodies from vaccination and prior infection will continue to provide some protection, as will available antiviral treatments like Paxlovid, which is still effective against all circulating strains of COVID-19. 

An updated COVID-19 vaccine is expected to become available in the coming weeks. Studies are still evaluating the new booster for its effectiveness against the BA. 2. 86 variant but indicators suggest it will be effective at preventing severe illness and death. That’s why it’s especially important that New Yorkers who are most vulnerable get the new booster when it’s available. New Yorkers should talk to their health care or vaccination providers about the updated COVID-19 vaccine and this year’s flu vaccine. It is also a perfect time to get this year’s flu vaccine when available. New parents should talk to their child’s pediatrician about the benefits of the RSV monoclonal antibody for infants, and for older or at-risk adults, talk to your provider about getting the new RSV vaccine. 

For assistance with finding a healthcare provider, call 311 or visit to find a location near you and make an appointment.

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