New COVID subvariant spreads rapidly in Northeast, sparking concerns it evades vaccines

William Brangham:

This new Omicron subvariant, known as XBB.1.5, now accounts for more than 40 percent of new COVID infections here in the U.S. and around 75 percent of cases in the Northeast.

This new variant emerges while just over a third of Americans 65 and older, those at most risk for severe outcomes, have gotten the updated booster shot. As China deals with a massive surge in cases, this week, the U.S. will require a negative COVID test from passengers flying from China to the United States.

Dr. Jay Varma is a physician and epidemiologist. He’s also a professor and director of the Cornell Center for Pandemic Prevention and Response.

Dr. Varma, great to have you back on the “NewsHour.”

So, there are these various COVID alarm bells that are ringing. Cases are rising. Some localities are asking for masks to be put back on with some mandates, and now this new variant has emerged, XBB.

How worried should we be about this variant?

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