Detroit Evening Report: Health officials say omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 is most transmissible strain of COVID yet

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This colorized electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in November 2022, shows cells, indicated in purple, infected with the omicron strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, orange, isolated from a patient sample, captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Md. (NIAID/NIH via AP)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the newest COVID-19 variant is the most transmissible yet.

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CDC officials expressed concern in late December about a subvariant of omicron called XBB.1.5 circulating during the holidays. That variant caused most of the new cases being reported in certain regions of the U.S. According to CNBC, XBB.1.5 made up 27.6% of sequenced COVID cases for the week ending Jan. 7 compared to 18.3% the week prior.

Its spread is prompting local health officials to recommend masks in schools as kids return from the holiday break. The Wayne County Public Health Division is recommending masks in schools for two weeks — but stopped short of a mask mandate.

Health officials are also encouraging residents to get vaccinated and boosted. Students should stay home if they have symptoms like fever, diarrhea, vomiting or respiratory issues.

Other headlines for Jan. 9, 2023:

  • City of Detroit resumes water shutoffs after 3-year moratorium
  • Highland Park nonprofit aims to build eco-friendly neighborhood development
  • Michigan offering more ways to assist with college tuition

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  • Sascha Raiyn
    Sascha Raiyn is Education Reporter at 101.9 WDET. She is a native Detroiter who grew up listening to news and music programming on Detroit Public Radio.