Germany’s health minister expressed concern about a new COVID-19 subvariant linked to an increase in hospitalizations in the northeastern United States, adding that Berlin was keeping a close eye on the situation.
While much of the world is focused on rising COVID cases in China, infectious disease experts are also concerned about the highly contagious Omicron XBB.1.5, which accounted for more than 40% of U.S. cases, according to official data released last week.
“Hopefully we get through the winter before such a variant can spread among us,” the minister, Karl Lauterbach, wrote on Twitter late on Wednesday.
“We are monitoring whether, and to what extent, XBB.1.5 occurs in Germany.”
Seven of the 10 U.S. states to see rising infections and hospitalisations are in the Northeast, in line with higher XBB cases, Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, told Reuters in a recent interview.