CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The latest CDC data suggests that the XBB Covid-19 variant is spreading in the Northeastern United States at a much higher rate than the rest of the country.

The XBB variant is considered the “most transmissible Covid-19 subvariant yet” and appears to be better at binding to human cells. The XBB virus has quickly become a higher percentage of total Covid-19 cases in the United States.

“It binds and it’s more infectious because it binds more avidly to the cells infecting the cells more quickly compared to the other subvariants,” said Dr. Armando Paez, the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Baystate Medical Center.

However, this variant isn’t causing the same type of surges in overall cases that omicron did last winter. There’s no evidence at this point that the strain, a combination of two prior omicron subvariants, is more lethal or more likely to cause Covid-19 complications.

For those who haven’t been vaccinated or infected lately, your protection against the virus isn’t ideal.

Dr. Paez says, “So far, the booster shoot the bivalent booster shot may not protect completely against the infection but most likely it will protect one from having a severe disease.”

Dr. Paez continued by saying that the best course of action to keep yourself safe is to have your boosters and immunizations as up-to-date as possible, such as getting the bivalent booster if you haven’t done so already.

Overall, experts say that healthy, vaccinated people still are at much lower risk for Covid-19 complications than immunocompromised or unvaccinated people.