Variant LB.1 Fueling Rise in COVID-19 Cases: Summer Surge Concerns Grow as Contagious Strain Spreads

NEW YORK, US – The emergence of the latest COVID-19 subvariant, LB.1, has sparked concerns as it spreads throughout the United States. Following closely behind the FLiRT variants, including KP.3 and KP.2, LB.1 has become a significant contributor to the increasing number of infections in the country.

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the dominance of KP.3 and KP.2 variants is being challenged by LB.1, which now accounts for 17.5% of cases in the US. The rapid rise of LB.1 infections since the end of May is raising alarms among experts.

While the overall COVID-19 numbers, such as hospitalizations and deaths, remain low compared to the winter peak, the surge in cases indicates a potential summer wave. With cases on the rise in most states, especially in the West, the country may be on the brink of another wave of infections.

Experts point out that LB.1, part of the omicron family, shares similarities with the FLiRT variants but has unique mutations that affect its ability to evade immunity. Although LB.1 is highly transmissible, there is no indication yet that it is more contagious than the FLiRT variants.

As the US faces an increase in COVID-19 cases, experts emphasize the importance of following guidelines on testing, isolation, and vaccination. The public is encouraged to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, wear masks in crowded indoor spaces, practice good hand hygiene, cover coughs and sneezes, improve ventilation, and maintain social distancing.

The potential impact of LB.1 on the ongoing pandemic remains uncertain, with experts closely monitoring the situation to provide timely updates and guidance. As the summer progresses, vigilance and adherence to public health measures will be crucial in mitigating the spread of the virus and protecting vulnerable populations.