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Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 accounts for 40.5% of U.S. COVID cases – CDC


A 3D-printed coronavirus model is seen in front of a U.S. flag on display in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 is estimated to account for 40.5% of COVID-19 cases in the United States in the week of Dec. 31, nearly doubling from the previous week, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed on Friday.

Recombinants of the BA.2 variant, XBB and XBB.1.5 together accounted for 44.1% of the total cases in the country for the week ended Dec. 31. For the week ended Dec.24, XBB.1.5 had made up 21.7% of the total cases.

The XBB variant has been driving up cases in parts of Asia, including Singapore. While some experts have said it is more transmissible, it has not resulted in a surge in hospitalizations.

The agency began reporting data for the two subvariants separately from this week, and the updated numbers reflect that XBB accounted for 3.6% of the total cases compared with 4.2% in the previous week.