BA.5: The Omicron Subvariant Driving Up Cases — And Reinfections : Short Wave BA.5 is now the dominant SARS-CoV-2 subvariant in the United States. It's driving up COVID cases and hospitalizations across the country.

It's also causing quicker reinfections. More people appear to be contracting the virus multiple times in relatively quick succession.

Today, host Emily Kwong talks with science correspondent Allison Aubrey about this dominant subvariant: What it means for mask mandates, "long COVID" — and why infectious disease experts think this wave will be more manageable than last winter's surge.

Got COVID questions? Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

BA.5: The Omicron Subvariant Driving Up Cases — And Reinfections

BA.5: The Omicron Subvariant Driving Up Cases — And Reinfections

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On Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 a mix of masked and unmasked individuals shop at the Portland Farmers Market in Shemanski Park in Portland, OR. Leah Nash/The Washington Post / Getty Images hide caption

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Leah Nash/The Washington Post / Getty Images

On Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 a mix of masked and unmasked individuals shop at the Portland Farmers Market in Shemanski Park in Portland, OR.

Leah Nash/The Washington Post / Getty Images

BA.5 is now the dominant SARS-CoV-2 subvariant in the United States. It's driving up COVID cases and hospitalizations across the country.

It's also causing quicker reinfections. More people appear to be contracting the virus multiple times in relatively quick succession.

Today, host Emily Kwong talks with science correspondent Allison Aubrey about this dominant subvariant: What it means for mask mandates, "long COVID" — and why infectious disease experts think this wave will be more manageable than last winter's surge.

Further reading:

This episode was produced by Margaret Cirino, edited by Rebecca Ramirez, and fact checked by Rachel Carlson.