New COVID variant KP.2 emerges in the US

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KP.2 variant raises concerns in the US: Experts warn of potential summer uptick in COVID cases.

KUWAIT CITY, May 15: In recent months, the JN.1 variant has held sway as the predominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States. However, a new variant, KP.2, has now taken the spotlight and may usher in a potential uptick in cases during the summer months.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that KP.2, an offshoot of the omicron variant, has surged to represent approximately 28.2% of COVID cases, significantly up from its 1.4% share in mid-March.

Experts, drawing from previous seasonal trends, anticipate a rise in COVID cases during the summer but not as severe as witnessed in past seasons. Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), likened the anticipated increase to a “swell” rather than a “wave” or a “surge.”

While KP.2 exhibits more mutations to the spike protein than its predecessor JN.1, signifying potentially increased infectivity, there’s no clear evidence yet that it causes more severe illness or is more lethal.

Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, underscores the importance of ongoing surveillance and vaccination efforts to mitigate the spread of the new variant.

Despite the emergence of KP.2, COVID-19 hospitalizations in the US have not seen a significant uptick, a notable milestone for the nation’s public health response.

While the situation underscores the need for continued vigilance, experts emphasize that the US is better equipped to combat COVID than at the pandemic’s onset. Vaccination remains a crucial tool in preventing severe illness, particularly for vulnerable populations.

In conclusion, while the emergence of KP.2 warrants attention, it serves as a reminder for the public to remain vigilant, adhere to public health guidelines, and stay updated on vaccination recommendations.

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