ATLANTA — The newest omicron variant that scientists have nicknamed the "kraken variant" now accounts for more than half of the COVID cases in the United States.
According to the most recent report from the C.D.C., the variant now makes up 63.1% of new cases in the U.S. In December, variant XBB.1.5 made up only 4% of all cases.
Does the latest COVID variant make you sicker than previous variants?
What we found
According to data from the CDC, January has seen a slight uptick in COVID hospitalizations nationwide. XBB.1.5 is now the dominant variant.
Dr. Heiman says the mutations make the variant more transmissible.
"What we are seeing is an increasingly savvy virus which continues to do what viruses do which is that they mutate and change in ways that help them to be more transmissible," Dr. Heiman said.
The latest report from the World Health Organization states that scientists are still assessing the severity of it but so far there's no indication that it makes people sicker than previous variants.
However, the W.H.O. notes that they need more research since information about the variant is coming only from the U.S.
Dr. Heiman cautions this fast-spreading variant comes as only a third of us have received the updated COVID booster.
"We've dropped our guard," he explained. "If you look at vaccine uptake for the new booster in long term care settings, it's abysmally low across the country including in our state."
So we can verify that the new dominant COVID variant does not make you sicker but the W.H.O. says it is watching to see if COVID cases rise worldwide.