Corona super variant XBB.1.5 – who gets infected now

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For the past two weeks, Corona numbers have been rising again. The growth is driven by the Omicron variant XBB.1.5 among a certain age group.

“XBB.1.5 is the dominant line in Austria with 26 percent,” molecular biologist Ulrich Elling noted on Twitter. This means that the highly contagious super-variant has once again gained ground but is not alone in driving the current infection incidence in Austria: The related line CH.1.1 is also currently causing more infections, explains the researcher from the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

New infections already climbed back up to more than 3,000 cases per day two weeks ago; last week, it was even more than 5,000.

Younger people are most affected this time, the Austrian Covid Prognosis Consortium reported. “Case trends, according to EMS show an incipient increase in reported infection numbers. Especially in the younger age groups, reported case numbers have increased by more than 50 percent in the last two weeks. The increase is particularly striking in the five- to 14-year-old age group,” it says.

A statement also supported by the data analysis of statistician Erich Neuwirth: His table shows the striking increase in the age group of five to 14-year-olds. The growth rates are particularly high in Burgenland and Carinthia and lower in Salzburg and Vorarlberg.

Nevertheless, the last Corona measures are also expected to fall by the summer. The reason is that although the Omicron variant XBB.1.5 has a high immune escape rate and is thus highly contagious, infection with this line is likely to be predominantly milder.

An overload of the health system is thus no longer to be feared, as the Graz virologist Dorothee von Laer recently explained: “XBB.1.5. is indeed probably more infectious, but not more pathogenic than previous omicron variants, i.e. one does not become more seriously ill in the case of an infection. So the number of infections might go up, but that’s not likely to overburden the health care system.”

  • source: heute.at/picture: pixabay.com
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