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What to know about COVID variant XBB.1.5

Dr. Cynthia Snider, Infection Prevention Medical Director with Cone Health, discusses the current state of COVID-19 and the newest variant.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — March 2023 will mark three years since health officials declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The CDC said the latest variant XBB.1.5 is on the rise but still makes up a minority of new infections across the country. The threat of COVID-19 is different than when it was first detected, however, it is still very much a part of our daily lives. Cone Health tracks the number of COVID hospitalizations to keep up with the severity of the virus in our community.


  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 has an incubation period of up to 14 days. Some people show symptoms as early as the second day, but it is usually around the 5th or 6th day. 


Side effects include a sore arm at the injection site, fatigue, headache, chills, and fever. While side effects are sometimes higher than for a typical flu vaccine, they are lower in many ways than side effects from the leading vaccine to prevent shingles.

Side effects are signs that a vaccine is working and are related to your immune system being stimulated to produce antibodies against infection. Side effects from vaccination are far less significant than health impacts from COVID-19.


If you have COVID-19, you can spread the virus to others; therefore you should isolate yourself if infected. The CDC has also suggested masking and avoiding contact with people who are at high risk of getting very sick. These recommendations do not change based on COVID-19 Community Levels.


The CDC recommends people ages 5 months and older get a booster shot at least 2 months after the last dose. The only booster exception is children 6 months to 4 years old, who've gotten the three-shot series. They are not authorized to receive a booster shot at this time.

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