The World Health Organization on Aug. 9 flagged a new Covid-19 variant that’s spreading quickly and widely. Nicknamed “Eris” and officially designated EG.5, the new offshoot is rapidly gaining ground across the world. It’s still of low concern, according to the WHO, and other factors may explain a current rise in hospitalizations in a number of countries, including the US. 

1. What is EG.5?

Eris is a descendant of a group of coronavirus strains labeled XBB. These are all offshoots of the omicron variant, which arose in late 2021. EG.5 made up an estimated 17.4% of global cases in the week ending July 23, according to the WHO, up from only 7.6% four weeks earlier. It’s growing quickly in the US, where it recently became the most common strain, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

2. How concerning is it?... Read More: Washington Post