Newest COVID Variants Showing Gradual Increases Across Missouri
A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(MISSOURINET) – The newest COVID variants BA-Dot-4 and BA-dot-5 have been moving rapidly through the state.

Nathan Koffarnus (kuh-FAR-nus) is an epidemiologist who has been tracking COVID across Missouri since the first cases.

He says cases have gradually increased since January, when people had natural immunity because of so many omicron cases.

Koffarnus, an assistant bureau chief at the state Department of Health and Senior Services, says severe COVID illnesses ARE down from the past winter wave in the state.

The newest variant comes from a familiar place:

Koffarnus says vaccines still make a big difference in reducing the severity of the virus.

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