(CTN News) – Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated on Friday that the highly infectious Omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant is now to blame for over 40% of COVID-19 cases in the country, with the subvariant tripling from the previous week.
Infectious disease specialists have been more concerned about the XBB.1.5 variation, even though many public health professionals are worried about the growing COVID cases in China.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota, said, “ironically, maybe the worst form that the world is confronting right now is really XBB.”
In addition, Osterholm noted that the Northeast is home to seven of the ten states in the United States, seeing an upsurge in XBB cases and hospitalizations.
For the week ending December 31, XBB and XBB.1.5, recombinants of the BA.2 variation, jointly accounted for 44.1% of all national cases.
For the week that concluded on December 24, XBB.1.5 accounted for 21.7% of all cases.
John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, said, “Every prior two winters, we have had a spike of infections that peaked in mid-January… and I predict the same to happen this year.”
The difference between the previous two years and this year, he said, is that the mortality rates have not significantly increased.
Cases of the XBB subtype have increased in certain Asian countries, including Singapore.
This week, it made up 3.6% of all cases in the U.S., down from 4.2% the week before. Starting this week, the agency submitted data for the two subvariants individually.
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