The United States is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Numbers are no longer accurately tracked due to the prevalence of home testing, but hospitalizations for COVID can still be recorded. There has been a significant increase in the last few weeks, but still less than last year at this time. Hospitalizations are rising in a majority of the U.S.
Omicron subvariants are highly transmissible and account for about 60% of cases. A new variant, XBB, is being followed by the CDC. It represents 5% of cases in the Northeast and 3.1% of cases across the country. It may be an escape variant because it has number of differences in receptor binding from the currently circulating variants.
An escape variant is a version of the virus that evolves with a weak immune response. The body has fought off the infection, but the immune response was not strong enough to keep the mutated viruses from spreading.