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What we know about symptoms, severe cases

Covid surrounded by question marks.
Illustrated by Aida Amell/Axios

The XBB.1.5 COVID-19 subvariant — a new version of the Omicron variant — is currently sweeping the United States amid a chaotic travel season and early days of winter.

Important reasons: Cases associated with the new variant nearly doubled in the last week, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. is inciting

XBB.1.5 COVID Subvariant: What We Know

XBB.1.5 strain The United States accounted for 40.5% of confirmed cases in the United States in the week ending December 31, according to CDC estimates. That’s an increase of about 20% from the week ending December 24th.

  • The CDC estimates that XBB.1.5 variants are responsible for approximately 75% of confirmed cases in the Northeast alone, including New England, New Jersey, and New York.

What they say: “We expect it to become the dominant variant in the northeast of the country and increase in all parts of the country,” said Dr. Barbara Mahon, director of the CDC’s Proposed Coronavirus and Other Respiratory Virus Division. says. , told CBS News.

  • Mahon told CBS that the CDC did not list the XBB.1.5 lineage in previous projections.

Zoom out: According to Reuters, experts have become increasingly concerned about XBB.1.5 and XBB variants (recombinant BA.2 subvariants) in recent weeks after their emergence in several Asian countries. And in China, the number of infected people is now soaring, so the infection is spreading.

  • Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, told Reuters, “Ironically, XBB is probably the worst variant the world is currently facing.”

XBB.1.5 is different CNBC reports that it can adhere better to cells than the XBB variant.

  • Virologist Andrew Pekos of Johns Hopkins University told CNBC, “Viruses need to bind tightly to cells to enter more efficiently, which is why they can infect humans more efficiently. It may help,” he said.
XBB.1.5 COVID variants: unknowns

unknown Where did this version of the Omicron variant come from, it’s spreading rapidly.

  • Also, I don’t know how fast or how far it spreads. But John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical School in New York, told Reuters he expects cases to peak in mid-January.
  • It’s also unclear if there are any specific symptoms associated with the new variant.
Symptoms and the XBB.1.5 COVID subvariant

is not Additional COVID-19 symptoms related to XBB.1.5 that are different from the usual symptoms.

  • “At this time, there is no indication that XBB.1.5 is more serious,” CDC’s Mahon told CBS News.

Yes, but: Scientists have mutations in the XBB.1.5 variant that could allow the virus to evade the COVID-19 vaccine booster and cause more breakthrough infections, CNBC reports.

  • In October, a variant of XBB was determined to be the best at evading COVID-19 immunity, wrote Axios’ Erin Doherty.

What’s next: Mahon told CBS, “I think it’s a really good time for people to do what we’ve been saying for so long is the best way to protect themselves.

Details from Axios:

US requires negative COVID-19 test for air travelers from China

Most Americans don’t have peak defenses against COVID

China sees more deaths as COVID ‘tsunami’ takes hold