This Week in COVID-19: As Omicron Cases Slow, New Subvariant Is Identified

COVID-19 updates and news to know as of January 31, 2022.

As of January 30, there have been 74,037,216 COVID-19 cases in the United States. In the last 7 days, there have been 3,801,110 new cases identified. (CDC

Breaking: Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has received full approval by the FDA following an additional review of safety and efficacy data. (CBS Boston)

An Omicron subvariant—known as BA.2—has been identified and is 1.5 times more transmissible than the original Omicron strain (BA.1). Health officials in the United Kingdom have described the strain as having a “substantial” growth advantage over BA.1, and nearly half of all US states have confirmed presence of the new variant, with 127 known cases as of January 28. (CNBC)

Some state governors have pivoted in their approach to the pandemic, feeling that it’s time to “learn to live with the virus”—despite a stretched-thin health care system and high daily case and death counts. Public health experts feel that the next phase of virus management dependents on what variants emerge in the coming weeks and months. (New York Times)

A study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene suggests that the COVID-19 virus may have “seasonal spikes tied to temperature and humidity,” the timing of which will vary for different locations. (The Washington Post)

Some scientists are declining to make even the most educated guesses into how the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to play out, citing the “unknowable wildcard” of viral variants. (NBC News)

Following last week’s controversy over The Joe Rogan Experience—Spotify will begin adding content advisories to any podcast episodes that discuss COVID-19. The change comes after high profile musicians and podcasters—including Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Brené Brown—pulled content and declined to release new episodes, respectively, until Rogan’s show was addressed. (NPR)

Check back next Monday for the latest updates and COVID-19 news you need to know.