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Covid-19: These Pair Of Symptoms Distinguish Arcturus From Other Omicron Subvariants

Two symptoms of a new highly contagious COVID-19 strain are distinguishing it from other Omicron subvariants.

Two symptoms of a new highly contagious COVID-19 strain are distinguishing it from other Omicron subvariants.
Two symptoms of a new highly contagious COVID-19 strain are distinguishing it from other Omicron subvariants. Photo Credit: Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

Arcturus, officially known as XBB.1.16, was labeled "a variant of interest" by the World Health Organization late last month.

Arcturus now accounts for 12.5 percent of cases in the US, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) variant tracker.

XBB.1.16 spreads about 1.20 times more than another Omicron subvariant known as Kraken (XBB.1.5), according to a study by the University of Tokyo. 

Kraken now accounts for about 65 percent of US cases, leading some scientists to project Arcturus will become COVID's most dominant strain sometime in the summer or fall.

After first being detected in New York in January, cases of XBB.1.16 have now been reported in more than 30 states and over 30 countries, according to the WHO.

The highest number of Arcturus cases in the US have been in New York, New Jersey, and California.

The pair of symptoms being reported in Arcturus cases not typically seen in other Omicron subvariants are high fever and “Itchy” conjunctivitis or pinkeye.

The third most commonly reported XBB.1.16 symptom -- a cough -- has been linked to other subvariants.

Still, there's been no indication that XBB.1.16 causes more severe illness than the original COVID strain or any variants.

The name Arcturus describes the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere.

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