The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a new COVID-19 variant is on the rise and is responsible for most of the infection in the New Year.
The new variant, XBB.1.5, makes up 40.5 percent of all novel infections, according to the latest measurements from CDC.
XBB.1.5 has grown exponentially since November 26.
The virus was initially measured at 0.6 percent in November, which then grew about 40 percent in five weeks.
XBB.1.5 has overtaken the Omicron variant cousins BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 in the Northeast.
States from Virginia to Maine all reported XBB.1.5 as the main infecting variant of COVID-19 cases.
Health experts predicted that XBB.1.5 would eventually “increase in all regions of the country,” Dr. Barbara Mahon, director of the CDC’s proposed Coronavirus and Other Respiratory Viruses Division, said in an interview to CBS News.
Currently in the Midwest, 6 percent of all new COVID-19 infections were reported as XBB.1.5.
The Omicron variant cousins continue to remain the highest cause of cases in the Midwest, making up a total 70.6 percent of infections.
“There’s no suggestion at this point that XBB.1.5 is more severe. But I think it is a really good time for people to do the things that we have been saying for quite a while are the best ways to protect themselves,” said Mahon.
Authorities on the virus continue to encourage safe social interactions as COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased since November.
Admission of patients suffering from the virus are higher now than the first few months of summer last year, according to CDC.
CDC recommends receiving the updated COVID booster shots as a preventative measure.
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