The emergence of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been associated with a rise in hospitalizations and deaths in certain countries. While the dominant variant in the US is not XBB.1.5, health officials have reported that other variants are becoming more prevalent.
The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis has reported a rise in the prevalence of XBB variants 1.9.1, XBB, and XBB.1.5.1 in the United States. Additionally, the newly identified XBB 1.16 variant has been detected in several states.
According to Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, the technical lead for COVID-19 at the World Health Organization, the XBB 1.16 variant has been in circulation for a few months.
Fortune has reported that although the XBB.1.16 variant is mostly prevalent in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, there have been confirmed cases in at least 18 states within the US. Based on available data, the following states have reported cases of XBB.1.16:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
The XBB.1.16 variant’s descendant, identified as XBB.1.16.1, has been detected in several US states, including California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
Currently, the World Health Organization’s health experts are closely monitoring global cases and any developments related to the variant.