- Global health officials have a brandXBB.1.5, a subvariant currently responsible for the majority of new COVID-19 cases, as the most infectious Omicron mutation seen to date.
- XBB.1.5 - called the "Kraken" strain by some experts - is believed to be about five times more infectious than previous Omicron strains and has properties that make it easier to spread to both vaccinated and recently recovered people.
- The common symptoms of this strain can easily be dismissed as a seasonal illness or the flu, but data suggests that flu infections are on the decline, meaning Americans should take these symptoms seriously.
- If you have a chronic cough, high fever, sore throat or runny nose, you should be tested for COVID-19 to make sure you are not contagious.
It has quickly become the main strain in new cases of COVID-19 now in the United States, a variant of the virus known asXBB.1.5- so-calledkrakenby some in the healthcare industry, it is likely spreading among Americans because of misleading symptoms that can be dismissed as a seasonal illness.
XBB.1.5 may be one of the most virulent strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus thatcauses COVID-19and have adapted to better bypass some antibody defensesoffer newer bivalent vaccines. Many outlets, fromUSA todaydoWashington Post,featured testimony from leading experts suggesting that this very species isINfive times more contagiousthan the earlier Omicron variants (which have spread rapidly in recent years).
Sherrill Brown, MD, the medical director of infection prevention in Los AngelesAltaMed Health Services, sayGood housekeepingthat the XBB.1.5 variant is the most infectious strain experts have come across recently - which officials inWorld Health Organization(WHO) confirmed in January this yearABC news.
"Viruses mutate to become fitter and can be transmitted from one person to another more efficiently," he explains. “Variant XBB.1.5 is a mutant variantOmicron-stam companyand proved to be the most infectious Omicron variant we have seen to date."
Dane Huidige'adelivered byCentre for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) indicates that the XBB.1.5 strain accounts for more than 60% of current cases in the United States. Meanwhile, CDC data suggest soinfluenza offell to the lowest level since September, despiteconcerns about the "triple"earlier this winter. However, some in the public health sector fear that the number could rise in the coming weeks; with many othersovercome persistent coughWStuffed noseIn addition to a compromised immune system affected by seasonal illness, there is concern that respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19 may be ignored or misdiagnosed.
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Fortunately, infections caused by XBB.1.5 do not appear to be more severe or fatal compared to previous variants. Lasttestscrutchbivalent COVID-19 boostervaccineronly ifsomelevel of protection against these newer variants – and better protection compared to previous versions of COVID-19 vaccines.
However, vaccination experts are concerned that a mild form of COVID-19 is not a reality for all Americans; there is some concern about thisany breakthrough casecan increaserisk of prolonged COVIDWthe most visible symptoms,attachedbrain eclipse.
Potential symptoms of the XBB.1.5 variant to diagnose:
According to materials published byUCDavis Health. But Dr. Brown adds that since most Americans have experienced at least one (If not more) have recently been infected with COVID-19, their immune system may show signs of illness that could be interpreted as something less serious.
"Since most people have developed immunity related to COVID-19 infection or have received vaccinations, individuals begin to experience milder symptoms when they become infected," says Dr. Brown. “[XBB.1.5] symptoms can betookmild cough and sore throat. Loss of taste or smell is still possible, but is now less frequently reported."
It should be noted that CDC officials have not identified a specific group of symptoms as directly related to the XBB.1.5 variant- like other previous variants, any combination or difficultytypical symptoms of COVID-19is possible with new infections.
According toCDCHere are the possible symptoms to watch out for if you think you are sick:
- Body shakes
- Chronic cough
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
In particular, four symptoms often associated with XBB.1.5 variants -stuffy nose, sore throat, coughWfever- is also often dismissed asseasonal cold or flu, According toCDC materials.
"You cannot distinguish influenza from COVID-19 by symptoms alone because some symptoms are the same," the agency says on its website, advising Americans tobe tested immediatelyto determine whether they infect others.
Muchsymptoms often disappear within five to ten days, MenYour recovery will likely depend on whether you are fully up-to-date with your vaccinations."People who are not screened are still at risk of more serious symptoms, including shortness of breath, leading to hospitalization or death," adds Dr. Brown.
Can XBB.1.5 easily cause COVID-19 reinfection?
If you recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection last fall, your acquired immunity to this virulent new strain may not be as protective as you think. There is clear evidence that XBB.1.5 replicates faster than other variants that affected vaccinated communities earlier in the pandemic;Danish CDCshows that in January alone, infection rates associated with the variant increased by 8 to 10% per week, which is a worrying number. Along with the limited research they suggestvaccine immunity is not that strongas before the emergence of variants, some health experts believe that breakthrough reinfections are now more likely than in previous years.
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In addition to research, it is very important to stay up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations as health officialsfor people at risk of serious complications.
"Knowing about the COVID-19 vaccine, including the latest updated bivalent booster, is the best way to protect against severe COVID-19, including the XBB.1.5 strain," said Dr. Brown.
As more information emerges about the coronavirus pandemic, some of the information in this story may have changed since the last update. Visit the portal's online resources for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19CDC,WHO, And yourslocal public health department.
Zee Krstic is the health editorGood housekeepingwhere it covers health and nutrition news, decodes diet and fitness trends and reviews the best products in the wellness aisle. Before joining GH in 2019, Zee worked in nutrition as an editor atCooking lightsand continually develops its understanding of holistic health by collaborating with leading academic experts and clinical service providers. He has already written about food and eatingTimeamong other publications.
Symptoms with XBB.1.5 appear to be similar to the earlier Omicron subvariants. Those can range from typical cold symptoms such as cough and congestion to shortness of breath and low oxygen levels that require emergency medical attention.How long is XBB 1.5 contagious? ›
1.5 is very similar to that of the other omicron variants that have been circulating over the past year: You are contagious one to two days before your symptoms begin, and you are still contagious for at least two to three days after your symptoms begin—though some people can continue to have the detectable live virus ...What are some of the symptoms of the Omicron sub variant BA 5? ›
- runny nose.
- sore throat.
- muscle pain.
COVID toes appear to be more common in children and young adults. Swelling or discoloration can develop on one or several toes or fingers. The hands, wrists or ankles also can be affected. Blisters, itchiness, rough skin, or painful bumps can occur.How contagious is XBB? ›
The latest is called XBB. 1.5 (nicknamed “Kraken,” by some), and it's another descendent of the Omicron variant. Like previous versions of the virus, it has been described as the most transmissible strain so far, more efficient and contagious than its predecessors—which is unsurprising given how mutations work.What are the symptoms of the new virus going around? ›
- Fever or chills.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
- Muscle or body aches.
- New loss of taste or smell.
- Sore throat.
You are most infectious (or contagious) in the first 5 days after your symptoms start. You can also spread COVID-19 in the 48 hours before your symptoms start. If you never have symptoms, consider yourself most infectious in the 5 days after you test positive.Can you be positive one day and negative the next Covid? ›
Unfortunately, yes—it is possible.How long does it take to shed the virus? ›
SARS-CoV-2 shedding persistence
Whereas about 90% of mild cases have been found to clear the virus within an average of 10 days after symptom onset, individuals who have recovered from the severe disease have been found to have prolonged viral RNA shedding with a median duration of 31 days.
Paxlovid is the first-choice treatment for mild to moderate COVID in people with a higher risk of severe illness. In initial clinical studies, it was about 90% effective at preventing COVID-related hospitalization and death.
For those without any underlying health issues, treating omicron is primarily supportive, similar to previous variants. Both Campbell and Johnson recommended using acetaminophen (Tylenol) when needed for symptoms that include headache, muscle aches or fever.What is the contagious period of Omicron? ›
Your infectiousness is highest 1 day before the start of your symptoms and begins to wane about a week later for most people. The Omicron variant has a shorter incubation period, compared to other variants. For the Omicron variant, the incubation period is 1 to 4 days.What are the three new symptoms added to Covid? ›
On June 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added three symptoms to its COVID-19 list: Congestion/stuffy nose, nausea and diarrhea. Those three new conditions now join other symptoms identified by the CDC: Fever.Have new symptoms been added to Covid? ›
Adds New Symptoms to Its List of Possible Covid-19 Signs. Chills, muscle pain, sore throat and headache are among the ailments now considered potential indicators of the disease.What percentage of people have not had COVID? ›
Serologic testing of US adults finds that nearly 42% have SARS-CoV-2 antibodies indicating previous infection, but about 44% of them said they never had COVID-19, according to a study published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.How do I know which strain of COVID I have? ›
When you receive a COVID-19 test, you won't find out which variant caused your infection. That's because COVID-19 tests only detect the presence of the virus – they don't determine the variant. Genomic sequencing looks at the genetic code of the virus to determine which variant caused the infection.What are first symptoms of Omicron? ›
- Sore throat.
- Hoarse voice.
- Nasal congestion.
- Runny nose.
- Muscle aches.
The research shows that covid-19 headaches are most similar to either tension headaches or migraines. The symptoms of tension-like headaches include: Moderate or severe pain. Pain on both sides of the head.What is a COVID cough like? ›
A dry cough is one of the most common coronavirus symptoms, but some people may have a cough with phlegm (thick mucus). It can be difficult to control your cough but there are a few ways to help.Can Covid go away on its own? ›
If you have COVID-19 or think you might, you can expect the illness to go away on its own in about 10 to 14 days. Most people (about 80%) recover from COVID-19 without special treatment. But COVID-19 can cause serious illness. Older adults and people with other medical problems are more likely to get very sick.
Once you have had COVID-19, your immune system responds in several ways. This immune response can protect you against another infection for several months, but this protection decreases over time. People with weakened immune systems who get an infection may have a limited immune response or none at all.Can you get COVID if someone in your house has it? ›
Because coronavirus is transmitted through close contact with someone who is infected, it's common for the virus to spread within homes.Can you test negative for COVID and still be contagious? ›
You may need to get tested even if you do not have symptoms. You can have COVID-19 and spread it to others even if you do not have symptoms. Your COVID-19 test can be negative even if you are infected. Most people do not test positive for the virus until days after exposure.Can you get Covid 3 times? ›
Since it's been estimated that over 80% of Americans have been infected with COVID-19 at least once, concern about reinfection is valid. Indeed, a person can get COVID-19 once, twice, three times or more. Does looking at the impact of reinfection matter, especially if you've been vaccinated? Absolutely.Does a very faint line mean positive for Covid? ›
If you see any line on your COVID test, err on the side of caution and take precautions to avoid spreading the virus to others. While a dark line that shows up quickly is a sign that there's more virus in your body, even a faint line can be positive (and may turn darker if you test again in the coming days).How long will you test positive for Covid? ›
After a positive test result, you may continue to test positive for some time. Some tests, especially PCR tests, may continue to show a positive result for up to 90 days.When does COVID peak in your body? ›
What does seem clear is that people with symptoms of COVID-19 are more contagious. And that the viral load tends to peak in the week after their symptoms first appear.Why am I still testing positive for COVID after 10 days? ›
Still, 19% of those who were asymptomatic continued to test positive on day 10, the study found. Keep in mind that it's possible to get COVID-19 more than once — even three or four times. So if there's a gap of weeks or months in between your positive tests, you might actually have a new infection.Does shedding of virus mean you are still contagious? ›
When the virus is shedding they are more likely to convey the viral illness to those around them. It's important to understand that for example, with a COVID-19 Coronavirus, patient, they may have symptoms that resolve but they still may be shedding virus particles, that means that they're still contagious.What is the dangers of Paxlovid? ›
Side effects: The most common side effects of taking Paxlovid include impaired sense of taste (for example, a metallic taste in the mouth) and diarrhea, according to the FDA. Side effects usually are mild, and may include altered or impaired sense of taste, diarrhea, increased blood pressure, or muscle aches.
- Taste changes (“Paxlovid mouth”) Loss of smell or taste is a well-known symptom of COVID. ...
- Diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common side effect of many medications. ...
- High blood pressure. ...
- Headache. ...
- Liver damage.
Paxlovid is not suitable for some people. Tell your doctor before starting to take this medicine if you: are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding.Does mucinex help with COVID? ›
Over-the-counter medications used for upper respiratory infections may help alleviate symptoms. Those medications include guaifenesin (Mucinex), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and dextromethorphan (Robitussin, Delsym).Should I take a decongestant if I have COVID-19? ›
You may take an expectorant/cough suppressant combination as needed for cough and congestion. Take an antihistamine/decongestant combination for your allergy symptoms and congestion. If you have uncontrolled blood pressure, then you should avoid the decongestant component.What is the best decongestant for COVID? ›
Take OTC antihistamines
Nasal decongestant sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin, Vick's Sinex) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine), can also be helpful.
Norway reported a similar median Omicron incubation period of 3 days (4).How long are you contagious with coronavirus? ›
You can pass on the infection to others, even if you have no symptoms. Most people with COVID-19 will no longer be infectious to others after 5 days. If you have a positive COVID-19 test result, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days after the day you took your test.When does COVID get worse? ›
A person may have mild symptoms for about one week, then worsen rapidly. Let your doctor know if your symptoms quickly worsen over a short period of time.What are the symptoms of the new Covid variant Delta? ›
Delta variant symptoms are the same
Typically, vaccinated people are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms if they contract the delta variant. Their symptoms are more like those of a common cold, such as cough, fever or headache, with the addition of significant loss of smell.
Because COVID-19 is an illness caused by a virus, a COVID-19 sore throat may look and feel like other viral sore throats. One clue that you have viral pharyngitis is that it is often accompanied by other common symptoms.
How long do omicron symptoms last? Most people who test positive with any variant of COVID-19 typically experience some symptoms for a couple weeks. People who have long COVID-19 symptoms can experience health problems for four or more weeks after first being infected, according to the CDC.Can you have Covid without a fever? ›
Many people who are infected have more mild symptoms like a scratchy throat, stuffy or runny nose, occasional mild cough, fatigue, and no fever. Some people have no symptoms at all, but they can still spread the disease.” Fever seems to be one of the more common early markers of COVID-19, Kline noted.What are mild Omicron symptoms in boosted? ›
What are the symptoms of Omicron? Symptoms of Omicron can be similar to the original COVID-19 virus and other variants, which can include a combination of the following: fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, headache, sore throat, muscle pains/aches and fatigue.What are the symptoms of Omicron 2.12 2? ›
"The omicron symptoms have been pretty consistent. There's less incidence of people losing their sense of taste and smell. In a lot of ways, it's a bad cold, a lot of respiratory symptoms, stuffy nose, coughing, body aches and fatigue," said Dr.What is the new subvariant of COVID? ›
The subvariant XBB. 1.5 is currently responsible for almost 80 percent of COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to the COVID Data Tracker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).How long is Omicron contagious for? ›
Your infectiousness is highest 1 day before the start of your symptoms and begins to wane about a week later for most people. The Omicron variant has a shorter incubation period, compared to other variants. For the Omicron variant, the incubation period is 1 to 4 days.When do people with Omicron start showing symptoms? ›
When do omicron subvariant symptoms start? The time it takes for an infected person to develop symptoms after an exposure is shorter for the omicron variant than for previous variants — from a full week down to as little as three days or less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Can you have Omicron without a fever? ›
Many people with the disease run a low-grade fever for days, she said, and some may have no fever at all. Upper respiratory tract symptoms including sore throat, nasal congestion, and a runny nose have seemed more common with the current omicron variant of COVID-19.What is saddleback fever? ›
Saddleback or biphasic fevers are those that are constant for several days, spontaneously reduce for 1 or 2 days, and then increase again. Saddleback fevers can be seen in such infections as Dengue, yellow fever, and influenza.What is the incubation period of Omicron BA2? ›
A study from Hong Kong, despite a small sample size (n = 13), similarly reported the estimated mean serial interval of BA. 2 as 2.7 days (median 2.5 [SD 1.5] days) (5), although a study from Spain reported an incubation period of 3.1 days and longer serial interval of 4.8 days (6).
The silver lining is that, according to the CDC, BA2 causes milder symptoms than previous variants. Milder does not always translate to mild symptoms, particularly in unvaccinated and people who are immunocompromised, notes the CDC. The BA. 2 strain must be monitored and reasonable precautions are being advised.What are the symptoms of the new BA 2 variant? ›
- Body aches.
- Shortness of breath.
- Sore throat.
When you receive a COVID-19 test, you won't find out which variant caused your infection. That's because COVID-19 tests only detect the presence of the virus – they don't determine the variant. Genomic sequencing looks at the genetic code of the virus to determine which variant caused the infection.When are you most contagious with Covid? ›
You are most infectious (or contagious) in the first 5 days after your symptoms start. You can also spread COVID-19 in the 48 hours before your symptoms start. If you never have symptoms, consider yourself most infectious in the 5 days after you test positive.Can you get Omicron twice? ›
Is it possible to get Omicron twice? The Omicron variant spreads easier than other variants of coronavirus, and people can get it twice. Reinfection is possible even if a person has already had this virus or is fully vaccinated.What medicine to take for omicron at home? ›
For those without any underlying health issues, treating omicron is primarily supportive, similar to previous variants. Both Campbell and Johnson recommended using acetaminophen (Tylenol) when needed for symptoms that include headache, muscle aches or fever.Can you test negative for Covid and still be contagious? ›
You may need to get tested even if you do not have symptoms. You can have COVID-19 and spread it to others even if you do not have symptoms. Your COVID-19 test can be negative even if you are infected. Most people do not test positive for the virus until days after exposure.Am I still contagious after 7 days? ›
If you are significantly immunosuppressed, you are more likely to be infectious for longer than 7 days and may still be able to spread the virus. Follow these measures until day 14 following your positive test result to further reduce any remaining risk of spreading the virus.