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In the US, a new variant of COVID is spreading rapidly KXan 36 Daily News

Date: January 31, 2023 Time: 05:47:17

“We predict this will be the dominant variant in the Northeast region of the country and will increase in every US state,” Dr. Barbara Mahon, director of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses at the CDC, told CBS News. However, despite its rapid spread, there is still little evidence that XBB.1.5 causes more severe disease or poses a greater risk to infected people than earlier strains, Mahon added.

The CDC noted that the mutation has gained significant momentum over the past week. Seven days ago, the new strain accounted for 21 percent of cases. It was first reported in mid-November and has now surpassed the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants that dominated the United States in the fall.

The health agency reported that XBB.1.5, a relative of the XBB strain, has been reported primarily in the northeastern United States. More than 70 percent of reported COVID-19 cases in New York and Maine are currently XBB.1.5. Experts warn that the XBB.1.5 option could create problems during the high tourist season.

According to Andrew Pekosh, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University, XBB.1.5 appears to be highly immune because it has an additional mutation that makes it better bind to cells.

“This strain can bind tightly to cells to get in more efficiently, and that could help it infect people a little more effectively,” Pekosh told CNBC.

Doctors urge Americans to be careful as COVID-19 hospitalizations have spiked in the US in recent weeks after the country just celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the second half of December, the number of hospitalizations in the US rose 3.6 percent. However, the number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 is not expected to reach the level of last winter. In the last week of 2022, 2,530 Americans died from the virus, compared with 17,048 in the same period last year.

According to the World Health Organization, the XBB.1.5 strain has been found in at least 70 other countries.

Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.
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