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Guam public health agency addresses concerns over XBB Covid variant

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

The Covid-19 variant, XBB.1.5, is not deadlier than previous variants, the Department of Public Health and Social Services said today debunking alerts circulating on social media.

Dr. Robert Leon Guerrero, the department's chief medical officer, said the XBB.1.5 strain's severity rate does show the strain to be contagious, but may not be as severe.

XBB.1.5, a subvariant of Omicron, was first detected earlier this year and has since become a dominant variant in several places around the globe.

Dr. Leon Guerrero reminds the community, that Covid-19 is here to stay, and the best defense includes getting the latest booster shot, washing hands and staying home if sick. When possible, social distancing and masking up are recommended, especially for those over the age of 60 or for those with health issues.

According to the American Medical Association, the rise of XBB.1.5 is "the product of a potent mix of mutations that make it easier to spread broadly, including among those who have been previously infected or vaccinated. That means there are higher chances for reinfection or breakthrough infections."

Symptoms of XBB.1.5 are thought to be similar to those of previous Omicron strains. Most people experience cold-like symptoms.

Individuals can avail of Covid-19 vaccinations and booster shots at no cost, administered by the Bureau of Non-Communicable Disease Control in the 1st Floor Terlaje Professional Building, Suite 103, 194 Hernan Cortez Avenue, Hagatna, Guam, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 2 pm (last call is 1:30 pm). 

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