By Stephanie Innes || Arizona Republic
A highly contagious new subvariant of the COVID-19 virus that’s fueling rising case numbers in the northeastern United States has been detected in Arizona, but unlike some other parts of the country it’s not yet dominant here.
Arizona historically has been hit with surges of COVID-19 later than most other states and the level of the XBB.1.5 subvariant that’s been detected here so far is extremely low. While its levels could rise in the coming weeks, that’s not inevitable, said David Engelthaler, who leads the infectious-disease division of the Arizona-based Translational Genomics Research Institute.
BB.1.5) here in Arizona since early December, it hasn’t taken off yet. It’s not one of our dominant strains. Here, it’s one of dozens of subvariants we seem to have in Arizona right now,” Engelthaler said. “The best we can do in my mind is work with the most vulnerable, those that are over 70 years of age, make sure their immunity is boosted, whether it’s from a recent infection or a recent booster shot. That’s just going to continue to prevent them from getting a serious outcome.”