As BA.2 drives most COVID cases, new XE subvariant emerges

As of late March, more than 600 cases of the new COVID variant XE had been detected in the United Kingdom. NYU School of Global Public Health's Dr. Danielle Ompad, an epidemiologist, said this variant needs to be watched. 

"I'm not seeing any data that suggests that it's more severe, but there haven't been enough cases probably for us to really know how it's going to play out," Ompad said. "It's unclear right now whether it's going to be important in terms of widespread transmission. So it's just something we're going to have to keep an eye on."

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What is spreading quickly is the omicron subvariant BA.2. Millions in Shanghai, China, lined up for COVID testing this week. And an ongoing lockdown has confined about 26 million people to their homes.

As FOX 5 NY reported, COVID cases are rising in Manhattan.

"Cases have almost tripled in the last few weeks," Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said. "Get tested if you have any symptoms at all."

Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has announced a new strategy to prevent and treat so-called long COVID. A task force will coordinate research efforts to get a clear picture of how widespread long COVID is. 

(The CDC refers to long COVID, also known as post-COVID conditions, as "new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus.")

The plan also includes expanding long COVID clinics and strengthening health insurance coverage. 

"We see you — we are focused on you and we are committed to advancing our nation's capacity to understand and treat your conditions," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. 

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