SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Dr. Jacob Smith with Baystate Health said variants are like ice cream flavors. If omicron is chocolate chip, this new subvariant is still that flavor, but scientists are trying to figure out if it has more chocolate chips. However, he said this subvariant is something that needs to be taken seriously.

“Whether or not it’s this kind of ice cream or that kind of ice cream it’s still an infectious disease,” Dr. Smith told 22News. “We know how to prevent, we know how to reduce our risk of getting it and we don’t want to get COVID-19.”

According to our affiliate in Connecticut, this subvariant is considered “stealthier” than the original version because its genetic traits are harder to spot. However, with the surge in COVID-19 cases we saw earlier this month, Dr. Smith thinks it is unlikely for people who had COVID-19 recently to test positive again.

“As a subvariant it is similar to omicron, however we’re still learning,” said Doctor Smith. “In general, we think that when people have COVID, whatever variant has caused it, there’s a level of protection for the next 90 days or the next three months.”

Experts say despite this subvariant being found they say you should still get vaccinated and boosted.

“At the end of the day, it’s still a virus that we know how to prevent and we know that it’s a pretty serious infection for some people when they catch it,” Smith told 22News.

COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts have been on a dramatic downward trend, but it’s worth noting that the state’s weekly average for new COVID-19 cases on the January 25 is still above the peak we saw last January.