The U.S. is seeing a summer uptick in COVID-19, due mostly to the spread of the highly contagious Eris subvariant.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase of just under 22% in COVID-related hospital admissions and a 21% increase in deaths related to the virus.

Eris, officially known as EG.5, currently accounts for the largest proportion of COVID-19 infections in the country. It’s another omicron subvariant and a descendant of the XBB sublineage, both dominant strains that have circulated in the past year.

According to the CDC, EG.5 accounts for 20.6 of new COVID cases for the two-week period ending Aug. 18, an increase from 7.5% during the first week of July. The next most common variant, FL.1.5.1. makes up about 13% of the cases; XBB.1.16 is just under 11%.

Eris symptoms are similar to previous strains of the virus and it does not appear to be more severe. Like previous omicron strains, however, it remains highly transmissible.

READ MORE: What should you do now if you test positive for COVID? How long should you quarantine?

Here are the symptoms to be on the lookout for:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Body chills
  • Chronic cough
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing
  • New loss of taste or smell

While symptoms of Eris are the same as previous strains, health experts warn it appears EG.5 can more easily elude antibodies that have developed from people’s previous infections or vaccinations. There is not currently an Eris-specific vaccine but it’s believed the booster expected to be released this fall will offer some level of protection against the subvariant.

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