‘Kraken’ strain causes new COVID concerns

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(ABC 6 News) – As flu cases and RSV rates are beginning to drop, but reported cases of COVID-19 are increasing.

A new COVID-19 omicron variant, XBB.1.5 is spreading quickly and being closely monitored, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The virus that causes COVID-19 is constantly changing and has been mutating since it first appeared three years ago.

Experts say those mutations of viruses are a normal process and are expected to happen.

With this new variant, the so called ‘Kraken strain’ experts worry about high infection rates because it attaches to moist areas with the human body easily.

This means the virus is able to infect more people and transmit more easily.

“What we are learning about this new variant, XBB.1.5, is that it spreads much more easily compared to the previous variants, and almost twice more likely to spread compared to the previous variants,” explained Dr. Raj Palraj, M.B.B.S M.D. Infectious Diseases and Occupational Medicine.

The most recent data from the CDC shows that – more than 40% of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. are due to the new variant.

Symptoms of infection remain similar to previous strains of COVID-19 infection: cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever and muscle ache.

The CDC continues to monitor the virus to see how it changes.