Omicron’s New Variant Spreads Rapidly in the US – It’s the XBB.1.5 Strain – It’s Been Detected in 70 Other Countries

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The strain, known as XBB.1.5, accounts for about 41% of confirmed COVID cases nationwide, according to the data

A new variant of Omicron is spreading rapidly in the US, according to official data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The strain, known as XBB.1.5, accounts for about 41 percent of confirmed COVID cases nationwide, according to the data. The mutation was first reported in mid-November and has now overtaken the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants, which dominated outbreaks in the fall.

XBB.1.5, a related strain of XBB, has been reported mostly in the northeastern part of the US, the health service said. Over 70% of COVID cases in New York to Maine have been diagnosed with this new strain of coronavirus.

The variation could be a problem amid the busy holiday travel season, experts warned.

“We predict that it will be the dominant variant in the northeast region of the country and that it will increase in all regions of the country,” she told CBS News. Barbara Mahondirector of the CDC’s division of coronavirus and other respiratory viruses.

THE Andrew Pekosz, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University, said XBB.1.5 appears to be particularly resistant. However, despite its rapid spread, there is little evidence that XBB.1.5 causes more severe disease or poses a greater risk to those infected than previous strains.

Still, experts are urging citizens to be extra vigilant as hospitalizations from COVID have increased in the US in recent weeks. More specifically, hospitalizations increased by 3.6% in the US.

This is strain XBB.1.5

However, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID is not expected to reach the level it reached last winter.

Meanwhile, deaths from the virus in the US have remained steady. In the last week of 2022, 2,530 Americans died from the virus, compared to 17,048 in the same period last year.

The XBB strain has been identified in at least 70 other countries, the World Health Organization said.

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