Just when you thought it was safe to be a normal, functioning society again, another “worst-yet” strain of COVID has arrived in the United States.
With much of America still bundled up and spending the day indoors due to the weather, there was always going to be an increased risk of COVID transmission during the winter months. But now, the World Health Organization is warning that a highly transmissible strain of the novel coronavirus has landed in the United States.
The new XBB.1.5 variant of COVID is the “most transmissible” yet detected, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official has warned.Advertisement - story continues below
The variant, which is a sub-variant of Omicron, is confirmed to be spreading in 25 countries, including the UK and US.
Cue the apocalyptic warnings.
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, told a press conference on Wednesday: “It is the most transmissible sub variant that has been detected yet.
“The reason for this are the mutations that are within… this sub variant of Omicron, allowing this virus to adhere to the cell and replicate easily.Advertisement - story continues below
“And we are concerned about its growth advantage, in particular in some countries in Europe and in the US in North America, particularly the northeast part of the United States where XBB.1.5 has rapidly replaced other circulating variants.”
The news comes on the heels of China’s abolishing of their “zero COVID” policy – a decision that has already fueled an enormous surge in cases around the far east nation.