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Morning Brief: BA.2, Upright Citizens Brigade, And Alcohol-Infused Breakfast Sandwiches

A health worker dressed in blue protective gear administers a COVID-19 test to a man dressed in black at the LAX airport.
A man receives a nasal swab COVID-19 test on December 22, 2020.
(Mario Tama
Getty Images North America)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s March 28.

It’s now a predictable pattern: COVID-19 cases spike after major holidays, slowly decline, then rise again as a new variant rears its head.

This spring, that new variant is BA.2, which some health officials are calling “stealth omicron” due to its initial evasion of scientific detection. And it’s spreading in L.A.: my colleague Jackie Fortiér reports that after the first week of March, BA.2 accounted for 14.7% of tests that underwent genetic sequencing in L.A. County — more than double the 6.4% from the week before.

Early research suggests that BA.2 is at least 30% more transmissible than the original omicron, but doesn’t cause more severe illness.

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The variant is spreading rapidly across the country. Between March 5 and March 12, approximately 22% of analyzed cases in America were BA.2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number jumped to nearly 35% the following week.

Even with the uptick in BA.2 cases, new COVID-19 infections are still declining overall in L.A. County. There were 789 new cases reported on March 26, down from 1,311 one month prior, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

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Meanwhile, health officials expect BA.2 to become the dominant variant in the region. 

“We are closely tracking the information from Europe,” said L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer last week, “since patterns seen in Britain in particular are historically seen in the United States a few weeks later.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

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Before You Go ... Brunch Food That's Infused With Alcohol

An egg sandwich with a thick cut bacon, topped with veggies and an olive.
The boozy Bloody Mary sandwich at Mohawk Bend.
(Gab Chabran
for LAist)
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Maybe for you, drinking a drink while eating a breakfast sandwich just involves too many darn steps. If that’s the case, you’ll be pleased to hear that Mohawk Bend in Echo Park has solved this problem for you, with three delectable sandwiches that each contain an entire cocktail’s worth of alcohol.

The Bloody Mary Sandwich, the Almond Butter, Bourbon & Jelly, and the Rummy McGriddle are infused with vodka, bourbon, and rum, respectively, and each cost around $20, which would probably save you some cash over ordering the drink and the sammy separately.

Customers are limited to two edible cocktails each.

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