NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- America's top doctor warns of the spreading COVID-19 subvariant as many states roll back pandemic restrictions.
"We need to be prepared to pivot, I hope we don't need to go there, need to be prepared to be flexible," said Doctor Anthony Fauci.
The news comes as New York state approaches a sad milestone-- nearly 70,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
It's called BA-2 and is a subvariant of Omicron.
Omicron is the variant that washed over the New York City area during the holidays.
While many people tested positive, hospitalizations and deaths were lower than in previous waves.
"We have seen that BA-2 does not cause more severe illness than other strains of Omicron," said NYC Deputy Health Commissioner Doctor Celia Quinn. "It may be a little bit more transmissible."
Right now, overall COVID-19 numbers are low. But about one-third of those new cases are the new BA-2 subvariant which has been described as more transmissible.
Doctors want to make sure symptoms stay on the mild side, which is why they continue to press for vaccines and boosters.
According to the latest data from New York Governor Kathy Hochul more than 81% of all New Yorkers have had at least 1 dose of the vaccine.
And the push continues to vaccinate all eligible residents.
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