Although the debilitating effects of the first few variants of COVID-19 have considerably boiled down over time, the dangers of contracting one have not been obliterated entirely. The new waves caused by mutated variants of COVID-19 haven’t been as deadly as the previous ones, However, one cannot deny the rising number of cases that have been reported.
With more than 19,508 cases active in the U.S., there has been a 6.7% test positivity against the 5% benchmark which is regarded as controlled transmission. Hence, taking utmost care and exercising cautionary measures like undergoing PCR testing is key to breaking the chain. Learn more about the Kraken variant here.
What is the current COVID-19 variant?
All viruses are bound to adapt and mutate over time and the COVID-19 variant is no different. The new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 called Kraken is the descendent of the XBB variant (Gryphon). The outbreak of Gryphon had a major impact on Asia the previous year.
The state of Nebraska has taken a hit with the new variant, Kraken (XBB.1.5), taking up over 57% of reported COVID-19 cases.
Facts about the new variant, Kraken
- The kraken variant has reportedly evolved from previous variants: Kraken is known to be a descendent of the Gryphon which is the XBB variant that hit Asia in the previous fall. According to researchers, this variant was the first SARS-CoV-2 variant that had evolved combining genetic information from two viruses.
- The transmission rate of the Kraken variant is higher than the previous variants: Although relatively new, the Kraken variant has a higher rate of transmission than Gryphon, Omicron and the ones from 2020 and 2021. Reports say that 27% of new cases in the U.S. are caused by Kraken.
- The Kraken variant has resulted in rising hospitalization cases: Many regions of the U.S, especially Nebraska have been greatly affected by this new variant which has led to rising hospital admissions. People aged 70 and above are more susceptible to the adverse effects than the Omicron variant.
- Midwestern U.S. is more likely to be affected by Kraken in a few weeks: Eastern states including Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Virginia have been currently experiencing a rapid rise in rates of hospital admission with Kraken steadily worming its way into California and Texas. With the rate of its spread, this variant impacting Midwest U.S is inevitable.
How to safeguard yourself against the new variant?
While most people are tired of dealing with COVID-19 issues, now is not the time to keep our guard down. To break the chain and reduce hospitalization rates, continue following the tried-and-true public health practices. Keep up-to-date with vaccines and booster rates. Here are some ways you can protect yourself:-
- Get vaccinated
- Wear a mask whenever you are out in public
- Avoid close contact. Maintain social distance
- Wash your hands frequently
- Immediately avail of PCR testing if you experience symptoms
- Avoid going outside if you have tested positive
Rates of vaccination and booster doses are steadily increasing in the nation with evidence proving that ones who are updated with their COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters have a higher rate of protection against severities of this disease, hospitalization, and possible death even with the newest variant, Kraken.
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