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January 2, 2023 9:25 am

Israel: Doctors Warn About Extremely Contagious ‘Kraken’ Variant of COVID-19

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avatar by i24 News and Algemeiner Staff

A medical staff member attends a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in a ward at Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel August 18, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

i24News – A newly identified variant of the coronavirus is likely to spread to Israel soon, a senior Israeli health official said Monday.

According to Dr. Nadav Sorek, director of the microbiology laboratory at Assuta Medical Center in Ashdod, the spread of the XBB.1.5 variant of COVID-19, nicknamed the “Kraken,” is only a matter of time.

“The question is not if, but when. This new variant circulating in the United States is going to come to Israel,” Sorek said.

“What’s happening in China and starting to happen now in the United States is the spread of a new sub-variant of Omicron. It’s a variant that spreads very quickly, but causes less severe disease than Alpha and Delta variants,” he added.

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“So we have a variant which is not dangerous, but which is more contagious. And it also constantly creates new variants,” warned Sorek.

Dr. Sorek predicts that Israel will experience a new wave of contagion, which will be followed by another wave a few weeks or even months later.

“Just because you were sick a few months ago doesn’t mean you’re protected from the new variant. That’s why we’re seeing very intense waves of infection in quick succession,” he stressed.

The XBB.1.5 subvariant now appears to be the dominant strain in the United States, accounting for 40.5 percent of confirmed cases in the country for the week ending December 31, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It was first reported in Asia, and led to a spike in cases in China.

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