Expert Advice from Epitome's Production Safety & Risk Management Specialists


We are in the middle of a COVID-19 wave caused by the BA.5 subvariant of Omicron, itself a variant of COVID-19. In this quick update article, we cover a few key factors that make BA.5 different:

  • Most contagious variant yet
  • Shrinking immunity window
  • New symptoms

Let’s begin by looking at the biggest issue with BA.5: it’s contagiousness.

Most Contagious Variant Yet

BA.5 is the most contagious variant yet. Not only are we witnessing a surge of infections across the country, but we are also seeing an alarming number of people getting COVID-19 for the second and third time.

BA.5 spreads exactly like all other versions of COVID-19: through infected droplets coming in contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth. BA.5, however, is better at evading immunity, both from infection and from the vaccinations.

This ingenious mutation creates a major issue for all our clients: a shrinking immunity window.

Shrinking Immunity Window

Immunity from COVID-19 has now shrunk to only 28 days. Before BA.5, immunity lasted at least three months. But the mutations specific to this new subvariant have led to a much shorter window for immunity.

This has important implications, especially for our clients in the Entertainment Industry. Much of the protocols the industry currently uses – along with other sectors of the economy – are built around the old immunity window. This makes their safety standards outdated and outdated safety standards are not safe at all.

Epitome’s expert team of COVID-19 safety officers have already helped productions tighten their protocols around testing to keep pace with BA.5’s immunity window. As this pandemic continues – and the virus continues to mutate – we must remain flexible and quickly adopt changes that continue to maximize safety.

Maximizing safety means knowing what to look for.

New Symptoms

The final trick up BA.5’s sleeve – for now – is new symptoms. In addition to the traditional symptoms of a COVID-19 infection, scientists have identified a few new symptoms that are specific to Omicron BA.5:

  • Hoarse Voice: A Zoe Health Study identified a hoarse voice as one of the leading symptoms of a BA.5 infection. This is a symptom that was not prevalent with previous version of the virus.
  • Sore Throat: The same study showed that an additional new symptom is a sore throat.
  • Night Sweats: As Professor Luke O’Neill from Trinity College Dublin tells The Independent, night sweats are a symptom of BA.5.

To properly protect yourself, your family – and your production – you have to know when to get tested. These new symptoms should prompt a COVID-19 test and not simply a trip to the drug store for some cold medicine.

The Bottom Line

The pandemic is not over yet. The best way to protect yourself and the ones you love (and even the ones you don’t) is to get vaccinated – and boosted – and follow the safety guidelines that have been the standard for over two years now:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Social distance.
  • Steer clear of crowds.
  • Sanitize high-contact surfaces.
  • Refrain from unnecessary travel.
  • Quarantine if you are sick.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms or think you may have been exposed.

The scientific community is working overtime to keep all of us as safe as possible. The only other tips we can offer to help keep you safe are:

If you don’t have time for any of that, stay tuned right here to Epitome and we will guide you toward the facts.

Sources Cited:

*DISCLAIMER: This information should not be considered comprehensive and is not a substitute for discussing these matters with your doctor or medical professional. Please consult with your insurance company, your doctors, and all applicable health professionals for personalized advice and information regarding COVID-19 and your health.