Kraken – the new COVID subvariant

    SARS CoV 2 virus
Multiple subvariants of the original SARS-CoV-2 virus have popped up around the world over the past three years. Image: Yhdysvaltain Tautikeskus CDC

There’s a new Omicron subvariant of the virus that causes COVID-19. It is identified as XBB.1.5 and it’s also called “Kraken” – after a legendary sea monster of gargantuan size said to appear off the coasts of Norway.

According to the WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, speaking at a news conference on January 4, existing data suggest that this new XBB.1.5 is the “most transmissible” subvariant that has been discovered yet.

As of January 9, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has confirmed up to 42 new cases of the “Kraken.” It was double the 21 confirmed cases reported the week before.

Traslación – 1.2 M devotees join Feast of Black Nazarene

    traslation 2023
A sea of devotees gathers in front of the Quiapo Church to join the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene along Quezon Boulevard in Quiapo, Manila, January. 9, 2023. The Traslación  (solemn transfer) was canceled for the third straight year but their devotion to the Black Nazarene never wavered. (PNA photos by Joey O. Razon)

MANILA – Over 1.2 million devotees participated in different activities to celebrate the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila.

Based on the data released by Quiapo Church Command Center, a total of 1,268,435 devotees joined the celebrations from January 6 to 10, 2023.

This is the third year that organizers have suspended the full traditional Traslación or the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church in compliance with pandemic protocols. However, the 2023 feast marked the return of some of the physical activities after being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.