New Omicron subvariants have led to increasing COVID-19 infections in the United States, with BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 accounting for over 35 percent of new cases in the latest week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
BQ.1.1 made up 18.8 percent of circulating variants, and BQ.1 was estimated to make up 16.5 percent of circulating cases in the week ending Nov. 5, according to the latest CDC data.
The two variants accounted for about one quarter of new COVID-19 infections nationwide the previous week ending Oct. 29, CDC data showed.
The two new variants have been growing especially fast since October. At the beginning of October, each one accounted for about 1 percent of new infections in the United States, but they have been roughly doubling in prevalence each week.
The predominant Omicron lineage in the United States remains BA.5, which accounted for 39.2 percent of new infections in the latest week, CDC data showed.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is constantly changing and accumulating mutations in its genetic code over time. New variants of SARS-CoV-2 are expected to continue to emerge, according to the CDC.