New Omicron variant XBB.1.5 raises concerns of rise in UK COVID cases

New Omicron variant XBB.1.5 raises concerns of rise in COVID-19 cases in UK. Image by Pete Hansen

The XBB.1.5 is a highly transmissible variant of COVID that caused a huge surge of cases last winter in the UK

After the UK government’s latest advisory to wear masks, scientists have raised concerns about the new COVID variant XBB.1.5, which has already been reported in over 4 percent of cases in the country.  

The new variant, which has already been rapidly spreading across the United States, threatens to cause a fresh wave of cases.  

XBB.1.5 was already responsible for a massive surge in cases in the UK, last winter, which resulted in thousands of people losing their lives.  

Several offshoots of the Omicron variant have dominated the number of COVID infections globally ever since XBB.1.5 evolved from the XBB variant. 

According to experts in the U.S., quoted in a report by the Guardian, the latest rise in infections related to the new Omicron variant started in the New York state around late October, 2022.  

As a result of the rapid spread of this variant, the number of cases registered in the U.S. doubled in a week at the end of December.  

Estimates in the country suggest that this strain accounts for over 40 percent of all COVID infections in the U.S., as an increasing number of people are being hospitalised.  

U.S. estimates also stated that the XBB.1.5. variant is spreading at twice the rate of the BQ.1.1 variant which is the most common strain in the UK.  

Meanwhile, Scientists in the UK said there is still uncertainty around the XBB.1.5. variant as only a fraction of COVID samples have been analysed.

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Written by

Imran Khan