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JN.1 takes center stage: Dominant COVID-19 subvariant surges, prompting concerns across the US

Dominant JN.1 subvariant surges in the United States | Credits: Getty Images

United States: The new subvariant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, JN.1 – which is also regarded as Juno, has been largely circulating in the United States and across the world.

Currently, the worries related to the new variant have increased as it has become the most circulating COVID-19 variant across the US, according to the recent details shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Understanding JN.1 and its Origins

JN.1 is the subvariant of Omicron, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) detected the first-ever case in August 2023. Initially, the variant was spreading at a slow pace, but eventually, with a decrease in temperature, the cases spiked, according to NPR News.

Visual Representation for JN.1 testing | Credits: iStock

As per the official data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during mid-October, just 0.1 percent of COVID-19 cases were because of the JN.1 variant; however, the cases increased to around 86 percent during mid-January.

In this regard, a director and professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at San Diego State University – Eyal Oren, stated, “Most likely, if you’re getting COVID right now, you’re getting this particular variant mutation,” as quoted by NPR.

Elaborating on the major reason behind the upsurge in the cases, the health expert continued by saying that the virus has been spreading at a rapid pace, and our immune systems are not able to cope with it.

However, the CDC has outlined another reason behind this sudden surge. The federal health agency mentioned that a lower vaccination rate among Americans is a major reason behind the surge. According to the vaccination data shared by the agency, in early January, just 11 percent of children and 21 percent of adults took a jab against COVID-19.

Emphasizing the effect of the vaccine on the virus, the CDC mentioned that jabs could assist in reducing severe illness and hospitalization. The health agency further mentioned that if COVID-19 cases are combined with flu and RSV cases, then it “could lead to more severe disease and increased healthcare capacity strain in the coming weeks,” as per NPR.

The health experts have furthermore highlighted that COVID-19 booster dose is very important, and people must not ignore the fact that booster dose can offer great protection against the infection.

Symptoms shown by JN.1

The health agency has mentioned that the majority of the symptoms shown by the JN.1 variant are similar to other respiratory illnesses, including fever, cough, chills, congestion, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, and loss of the sense of smell and taste.

Further, Oren said, “That’s why it’s so important to get vaccinated and to get tested (for COVID), particularly if someone is at higher risk of severe outcomes.”

Precautionary measures against the virus!

Health expert Oren urged the general public to take all the possible precautionary measures, such as wearing face masks, washing hands, and avoiding crowded places. He further continued that if an individual is feeling unwell, then he/she must stay inside the home or should isolate.

Representation for COVID-19 vaccine | Credits: Pexels

As per the data shared by the CDC, during the last four weeks, the hospitalization rate among respiratory illnesses has witnessed a huge hike. The admissions have risen by 200 percent for influenza, 60 percent for RSV, and 51 percent for COVID-19.

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