The White House COVID-19 Team is announcing its strategy to manage BA.5.
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 we can 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.
The Administration’s strategy to manage BA.5 includes:
- Making it easy for people to get vaccines and boosters
- Making it easy to access COVID-19 treatments and boost provider and patient awareness
- Making free COVID-19 testing, including at-home tests, widely available
- Making free high-quality masks widely available and communicate clear recommendations about when people should consider masking
- Prioritizing protections for immunocompromised individuals
- Encouraging all building owners to improve indoor ventilation
- Empowering people with the latest information on COVID-19 and where to access vaccines, treatments, tests, and masks at COVID.Gov