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How worried should Kansas City be about the BA.5 variant?

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The new BA.5 variant is making its way throughout the country — and you aren't necessarily immune, even if you recently recovered from COVID. A health expert talks us through what Kansas Citians should do to stay safe.

Many across Kansas City have forgone their masks during this new stage of the pandemic, but the omicron BA.5 variant spells trouble even for those who have already been infected. Kansas City is currently seeing an average of 75 new hospitalizations and over 380 cases per day, although a lack of testing means that case numbers are likely higher.

"It is very contagious, it may evade vaccine immunity, and in individuals who have been infected in the past, they may get re-infected," says Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, dean of the UMKC School of Medicine. "It underscores the importance, though, of the fact that it appears likely that vaccine is holding up and preventing the most serious consequences of these cases, including hospitalization, intensive care units and death."

KCUR's Nomin Ujiyediin spoke with Jackson about how Missourians should stay prepared during this next phase of COVID-19 — including potentially wearing masks indoors.

Contact the show at news@kcur.org. Follow KCUR on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news.

Kansas City Today is hosted by Nomin Ujiyediin. It is produced by Byron Love, Trevor Grandin and KCUR Studios and edited by Gabe Rosenberg and Lisa Rodriguez.

You can support Kansas City Today by becoming a KCUR member: kcur.org/donate

As a newscaster and a host of a daily news podcast, I want to deliver the most important and interesting news of the day in an engaging and easily understandable way. No matter where you live in the metro or what you’re interested in, I want you to learn something from each newscast or podcast – and maybe even give you something to talk about at the dinner table. You can email me at nomin@kcur.org and find me on Twitter @NominUJ.
Trevor Grandin is a contributing producer for KCUR Studios.
As an on-demand producer, I am focused on using my skills and experiences across multiple digital applications, platforms and media fields to create community focused audio, video and on-demand products for KCUR Studios. The media that I produce aims to inform, entertain and connect with the Kansas City metro area as we continue to learn from each other. Email me at byronlove@kcur.org.