New COVID Virus Strain KP.2 Could Create Summer Surge

As the COVID virus continues to mutate a new strain known as KP.2 is making its way around the world. While the number of deaths and hospitalizations from the various strains of the virus are decreasing, COVID still infects those who are older or whose vaccinations are not up to date. 

Even for those who have been vaccinated, protection from the COVID virus fades as time passes. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that people 65 and older who have already gotten one dose of the latest vaccine receive a second shot at least four months later.  

KP.2 is taking its place alongside the JN.1 strain – which is still a dominant source of infections. Associated symptoms for both include coughing, sore throat, body aches, fever, congestion, fatigue, sinus, and shortness of breath in the worst cases.   

Although the number of new long COVID cases is also decreasing, individuals who are continually re-infected by new or existing strains often raise the risk of developing long COVID.  

The current vaccine was developed to provide protection against the XBB.1.5 strain which is different from JN.1. That’s why the possibility of re-infection is of concern, especially for the most vulnerable individuals. The CDC is continuing to monitor how the JN.1 strain holds up against the current vaccine. Masking and frequent handwashing continue to be valuable tools to prevent new infections.   

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