Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 accounts for over 90 pct new COVID-19 cases in U.S.

LOS ANGELES, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The highly transmissible Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 now accounts for over 90 percent of new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States, according to the latest estimates by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

XBB.1.5 was estimated to account for 90.2 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the country in the latest week ending March 18.

It was up from 88.8 percent a week before and 86.3 percent two weeks prior, CDC data showed. The prevalence of XBB.1.5 has kept increasing since late last year.

The second most prevalent strain BQ.1.1 only accounted for 3.5 percent in the latest week.

The CDC first started tracking XBB.1.5 in November last year, when it accounted for less than 1 percent of cases nationwide. Since then, the strain is spreading quickly in the United States.

While XBB.1.5 is spreading easier, scientists said it does not seem to cause more severe disease.

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