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Covid Cases Are On The Rise Again, Thanks To The XBB1.16 Variant

Are you a frequent traveller or have gone back to office full time? It may be time for you to mask up again.

By Surbhi Sharma
New Update
Covid Cases Are On The Rise Again, Thanks To The XBB1.16 Variant

Are you a frequent traveller or have gone back to office full time? It may be time for you to mask up again. Covid-19 is on the rise, adding to our woes as we battle pollen and seaonal flu. On Wednesday, India registered 2,151 new coronavirus cases, the highest since October 2022. The active cases on Wednesday morning stood at 11,903.  

While this may bring up unpleasant Covid memories, there’s no need to be alarmed. 

What’s driving the rise in numbers? 

A new variant XBB1.16, a sub-lineage of the Omicron strain, is the culprit this time. It’s a new sub-lineage of the XBB.1 which was first detected in India in mid-January and has since spread rapidly with over 600 confirmed cases.

Will it trigger another wave?

Highly unlikely. Virologist Shahid Jameel told BOOM, “Unless a drastically different variant from Omicron emerges, there is very little threat of new waves.” That’s because a large number of people in India and across the globe already have immunity from being infected by an Omicron variant.

Narender Saini, microbiologist and chairman of the Indian Medical Association Antibiotic Resistance Committee said that the previously acquired immunity is strong enough to slow down the spread. "We already have around 80% immunity against the virus, either by virtue of infection or by vaccination,” Saini said. 

Is it time to mask up? 

Precaution is always better than cure. If you’ve not yet taken a booster dose, it may be time to consider it after consulting your doctor. And it will definitely help to fish out the forgotten masks in your drawer and revise those handwashing skills. It will save you from the seasonal flu as well. 

 

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