01/7The highest number of sequences of COVID XBB 1.16 are from India
A new variant of COVID XBB, namely XBB 1.16 is in news currently for driving infection cases in the country. As per an international COVID tracking platform, the highest number of sequences of this sublineage have come from India followed by Brunei, the US and Singapore, media reports have said.
The prevalence of this variant of COVID virus can lead to a fresh wave of infections, reports have predicted.
02/7COVID positivity rates in several states has increased
The COVID positivity rates in states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat have increased.
Maharashtra, from where this new variant is believed to have originated, reported 155 COVID positive cases in a single day along with two deaths. Telangana recorded more than 100 cases on Tuesday and Wednesday combinedly.
In states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, HimachalPradesh and J&K the positivity rate is between 5% and 10%.
03/7What are the symptoms associated with COVID XBB 1.16?
So far, no different symptom related to the new circulating COVID variant has been reported.
The classic symptoms of COVID which give a preliminary idea about the infection are headache, muscle pain, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose and cough.
Apart from the classic signs people also experience abdominal pain and discomfort, and diarrhea.
04/7”XBB is currently dominating in India”
“In India, XBB.1.16 is showing a high prevalence in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat as per covSPECTRUM. XBB 1.16 has not descended from XBB.1.5 but both have descended from XBB and more recently XBB.1,” TOI has reported quoting a top expert from India’s genome sequencing network.
“XBB is currently dominating in India, and the latest uptick in cases in the country could be a result of XBB 1.16 and perhaps XBB 1.5 but a few more sample runs would clear the picture,” the expert has told the media.
05/7What should people be careful about?
The new variant is circulating at a faster pace and is already seen as a threat.
Going with the previous experience of dealing with the virus, mutants of COVID virus are smarter in escaping immunity and are contagious in nature. The Omicron variant, of which the XBB 1.16 is a sub-sub variant, is notorious for its high transmission rate. Since the later months of 2021, the Omicron variant has been circulating worldwide replacing the Delta variant.
As of now less is known about the course of action of the variant is not known. The rate of hospitalisation which is a serious concern during a COVID wave is also unknown. Hence people need to be careful about their own safety and also take care of those who are in the vulnerable groups.
06/7How to prevent catching COVID?
Avoid going outdoors when you have few symptoms of the infection
Avoid going near to those who have the symptoms of the infection
Avoid going to crowded places without wearing masks
Do not touch the face, especially nose, mouth and eyes, without cleaning the hands
Do not touch any exposed and unclean surface
Keep kids and older people isolated when someone in the family or in the neighbourhood has COVID.
Keep the indoor air circulating. Stale air indoors is a breeding ground for coronavirus.
Study finds reusable water bottles hold more bacteria than toilet seat
07/7How is XBB 1.16 different from H3N2 influenza virus?
XBB 1.16 scare has arised amid scare around the H3N2 influenza virus which has claimed 7 lives in the country so far.
H3N2 is a seasonal influenza virus caused by the viruses which are part of the viral family Orthomyxoviridae. Health experts have said that H3N2 virus does not affect the lungs and is mild in nature except for older people and those with comorbidities.
COVID led to global pandemic and nationwide shut down in 2020. While things have returned to normalcy health experts are constantly warning people to stay safe from the viral infection. COVID also poses another risk of complications which are combinedly referred to as long COVID.
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