The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our lives, and the emergence of the Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16 highlights the need to remain vigilant and informed about the virus's latest developments. Understanding the potential risks and taking appropriate measures to protect yourself and others from the virus is crucial. Here is what you need to know about the latest updates on the virus and how to stay safe and healthy.
According to Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist and the Technical Lead of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Health Emergencies Program, the virus is still circulating, and the threat is not over. Every week, between 5,000 and 10,000 people still die from COVID-19, especially among older individuals who may not have been fully vaccinated. Additionally, COVID-19 is still circulating alongside other infectious pathogens, which puts a burden on healthcare systems. Therefore, it is essential to remain vigilant as the COVID-19 virus is still evolving.
The Omicron variant is currently dominant worldwide, with over 600 sub-lineages in circulation. The virus has not settled into a predictable pattern, and we can expect to see waves of infection. However, population-level immunity is increasing globally from vaccination and past infections, which may result in smaller peaks of infection than before.
The XBB.1.1.16 variant is currently being monitored closely as it resembles XBB.1.5, with the exception of an additional mutation in the spike protein that enhances its infectivity and potential pathogenicity in lab studies. Although this variant has been circulating for several months and is most prevalent in India, it remains a variant under monitoring. Hence, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of international collaborations to assess the effectiveness of interventions, including diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines, and to remain vigilant, as all efforts put into COVID-19 preparedness serve as a lesson for the future.
As we are navigating COVID-19 and its emergence of the new Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16, it is crucial to remember that we have the power to safeguard ourselves and our communities. One of the recommended measures to protect ourselves and others is to maintain good hygiene practices, practice social distancing, and undergo regular testing. At-home and workplace test kits are widely available to help individuals stay informed of their COVID-19 status.
Regular testing can be a powerful tool to stay informed and keep your community safe. If you're looking for a reliable source for COVID-19 test kits, you can find them by clicking here. By testing regularly, you can help contain the spread of this new variant and protect the health and well-being of your community.
In conclusion, staying informed about the evolving situation and taking appropriate measures to protect ourselves and others is key. Let us continue to work together to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and protect our communities.
*As per the WHO press conference on 29th March 2023