CDC has warned of a new variant of omicron that has spread across the U.S. Concerns have been raised over the second wave of Covid cases post-Christmas. The CDC has predicted that the XBB.1.5 omnicron variant has 40% of confirmed Covid cases in the U.S., increasing by 100% compared to recent numbers. 75% of the confirmed cases are the XBB.1.5. variant from the Northeast region.
The origin of the variant is still unknown, but the variant is said to be spreading at a faster pace than the previous variants. The director of the CDC’s Covid division, Dr. Barbara Mahon, stated that this variant does not have any symptoms of severe sickness as there is no evidence to support this.
While Covid hospitalisations as a whole are increasing across the nation, Mahon stated that regions like the Northeast have fewer critical cases but a higher number of overall cases. Hospitalizations have been increasing generally across the nation. In the areas where there is more XBB, they don’t appear to be improving their results.
According to news sources, the weekly average of daily Covid cases has crossed 42,000 per day, which is an increase of 4.2% from two weeks prior. On the other hand, the weekly average of daily points in ICUs has crossed 5,000 which is 9% higher as compared to the last two week’s trend.
The omicron XBB variant is a combination of the omicron BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75 subvariants and is related to the XBB.1.5. WHO has identified seventy countries in which the XBB variant is present and has been linked to outbreaks of illness in different segments of Asia.
A person exposed to the virus would become sick, and experience symptoms. According to laboratory studies, XBB may evade antibodies from prior Covid infections or immunisations.
Disease physician and epidemiologist Dr. Isaach Bogoch stated:
“It’s clear that there’s immune evasive properties of XBB. That’s been demonstrated in laboratory studies and seen clinically in cases and hospitalizations.”
As experienced in previous variants, Bogoch anticipates that even if the cases increase at an increasing rate, there won’t be a major jump in the number of deaths due to the high level of population control in the U.S. The Covid vaccines should continue to be beneficial in preventing major diseases and sudden demises since evidence suggest that other immune system components may be able to fight the virus.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, a disease specialist at the University of Minnesota, gave an interview highlighting the fact that the current variant is the worst one the world is facing. In addition, Osterholm specified that the Northeast is a red zone in the entire U.S. where the number of cases and hospitalised patients are increasing.