Here’s what you need to know about COVID’s XBB.1.5 ‘Kraken’ variant

The omicron variant’s family tree has grown substantially over the last year. The brood now encompasses a subvariant soup with alphanumeric names such as BA.2, BA.5 and BF.7. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that two versions — BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 — caused just over half of new infections in the United States during the week ending January 7. 

Now, a newcomer dubbed XBB.1.5 seems poised for a rise to dominance. According to CDC estimates, it accounts for more than 80 percent of new cases in parts of the northeastern United States. For the week ending January 14, it was responsible for 43 percent of new

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