Michigan could be bracing for a summer mingling with a new COVID variant. Named KP.2 (K-P-dot-2), but also referred to as FLiRT, this viral sensation could spice up your summer plans - but not in a good way. Experts are sounding the alarm, warning of a potential surge in COVID cases across the Mitten State and beyond.

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) latest data shows that FLiRT, comprising KP.2 and its sidekick KP.1.1, is making its presence known and currently represents 28% of new COVID cases from April 14-27, up from a measly 6% in prior weeks according to a USA Today report.

 How KP.2 Mutated to Become a Potential Michigan Summer Spoiler

Could New KP.2 COVID Variant Spoil Michigan's Summer?

You're probably wondering what makes FLiRT so special. Well, all the mutations that make these descendants of the infamous JN.1 changed the spike protein, which enhances the virus' ability to attach and colonize your body, making this variant a party crasher for our bodies. Michigan isn't the only state seeing a rise in KP.2 cases, as they currently represent 18 percent of COVID cases in the Midwest.

I'm not sure about you, but I certainly don't miss having my brain tickled by an extra-large Q-Tip, so the prospect of dealing with another round of masks and constant hand sanitizing isn't how I want to spend my Michigan summer.

Do Michigan's Vaccines Provide Protection Against the FLiRT / KP.2 COVID Variant?

Could New KP.2 COVID Variant Spoil Michigan's Summer?

While they still have some protection against FLiRT, recent lab buzz out of Japan suggests these mutations may be giving our shots the slip. Don't panic yet. Experts say the current vaccines should still provide a decent defense.

Related: Yuck! The 9 Germiest Surfaces in Your Michigan Workplace

Don't go canceling your summer plans or gatherings yet. While FLiRT might try to crash your party, experts predict a less dramatic rise in hospitalizations than in Michigan's previous COVID summers.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

Gallery Credit: Stephanie Parker

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