Japan: new Covid wave begins with BF.5 as leading variant again

Asia, BF.5, Coronavirus, Deaths, Genome, Health, Healthcare, Hospitalization, Japan, Reinfection, Testing, Transmission

Japan is seeing a new wave of coronavirus rolling in, just weeks after the last devastating wave tailed off.

It seems there are three main variants responsible for the latest wave: the declining variants BA.5.2 and BA.5.2.1, and BF.5, the variant that was largely responsible for the last wave that peaked in August 2022.

BF.5 seems to be currently responsible for more than 30% of infections in Japan:

 

BF.5 seems to have originated in Israel before becoming the dominant variant in Japan. CovSpectrum has the variant currently at 33% of sequences in Japan:

 

By comparison, BF.5 seems to be declining quite rapidly in Denmark:

 

Japan has seen about 70,000 Covid cases a day recently, with a clear upward trend:

 

The correlation between BF.5 and the recent Covid infection waves is clear:

 

Covid-19 hospitalizations in Japan are just starting to tick upwards in response to the new wave:

 

According to NHK news, XBB, the Deltacron recombinant variant which has already caused one wave in Singapore, has recently been detected in Tokyo, but seems to be at a low levels so far.

 

The new Covid-19 wave in Japan comes just weeks after the last wave which saw record cases, hospitalizations and deaths:

Japan: Record-breaking Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths

 

 

 

 

Some images courtesy of the Regeneron dashboard – Great work!

Lead image by マサコ アーント from Pixabay