DeKalb County

Health expert weighs in on new COVID-19 variant, why it may cause more severe symptoms

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Infectious disease doctors tell Channel 2 that the new COVID-19 variant can sometimes cause more severe symptoms.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington spoke with a local doctor who said the variant can basically get around any current immunity.

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She believes the numbers could rise even higher if we don’t go back to previous COVID-19 precautions.

This is all while doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to track COVID cases in Georgia and around the country.

“I woke up with a fever of 101 at 8 o’clock in the morning,” said Ellen Reynolds, who had COVID.


Washington first spoke with Reynolds on Wednesday.

“I remember feeling like death warmed over,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds and her entire family are vaccinated, and they still tested positive.

Right now, the CDC says the new BA.5 subvariant is responsible for 66% of all COVID-19 cases in Georgia. They’re calling it a summer surge.

“We have all of these mutations, this BA.5 is just one example. We continue to have a caviler and a casual approach to how we’re managing this pandemic,” Dr. Jayne Morgan, Executive Director of the COVID-19 task force at Piedmont Healthcare, said.

She said the BA.5 subvariant is a part of the omicron variant, and that is is highly contagious.

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“It has proven itself to be more evasive and elusive, and able to avoid some of our immunities that we built up... that includes immunity from infection and the vaccine as well,” Morgan said.

Morgan said that this variant, like the delta variant, tends to infect the lower lungs. That’s why so many people suffer from intense symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic also reminds everyone that:

  • People who are fully vaccinated can get breakthrough infections and spread the virus to others, but the COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness.
  • Vaccines are authorized for children as young as 6 months.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s recommended that you get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The overall risk of COVID-19 to pregnant women is low. However, women who are pregnant or were recently pregnant are at increased risk of severe illness.
  • Pregnant women with COVID-19 are also more likely to deliver a baby before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy (premature birth). They might also be at increased risk of problems such as stillbirth and pregnancy loss.