According to the CDC, two new omicron subvariants sprouting from the BA.5 are causing infections in the US, which have been observed in 11% of COVID-19 infections this past week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated on Friday that the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 subvariants were responsible for less than 1% of infections a month ago, but are now amounting to 11% of the total infections in the country.
The quick rise of BQ.1.1, which has mutations that likely make it particularly good at evading prior immunity, “sets it up to be the principal driver of next US wave in the weeks ahead,” according to Eric Topol, founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.
“We’re likely to see a new, substantial increase in infections here in the United States in the later fall and winter because we’ve seen it each of the last two years,” White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha recently said.
According to Jha, the updated (booster) shots “should provide a much higher level of protection against infection, against transmission, and certainly against serious illness and hospitalizations and deaths.”