US faces heightened COVID-19 threat as WHO warns of new variant and surge in deaths

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United States: COVID-19 has been spreading rapidly, and experts worldwide have been worried about the same as new variants have been developing with an increased tendency to transmit and higher power to fight against the immunity boosted by vaccines.

A similar concern was currently shared by the Director-general of the World Health Organisation – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who pointed out that holiday gatherings and the new variant are highly responsible for deaths and hospitalization across the world. The concern was shared by the health expert after 10,000 COVID deaths per month have been reported worldwide.

While having a conversation with the reporters of CBS News, the head of WHO stated, “Although 10,000 deaths a month is far less than the peak of the pandemic, this level of preventable deaths is not acceptable.”

Looming threat of JN.1 variant across the US

According to the data revealed by the UN health agency, the new sub-variant Jn.1 has become the most prominent worldwide. It is to be noted that in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the variant is responsible for nearly half (approximately 44 percent) of the COVID-19 cases.

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The regard was addressed by the professor of infectious disease at Vanderbilt University Medical Center – Dr William Schaffner, who stated, “We are in January, and it’s winter respiratory virus season — COVID, along with influenza and RSV, is on the rise throughout much of the country today,” according to the reports by CBS News.

Further, he added, “Apropos of COVID, we’re seeing an awful lot of mild infections — that is, they don’t require hospitalizations, but you can feel miserable for three to four days — that are being caused by this JN.1 variant. However, it’s not causing more severe disease.”

Dr Schaffner also named the variant as the “grandchild of the original Omicron strain,” as per the reports by CBS News.

CBS News further quoted him, saying, “These viruses like to mutate, and their distinctive characteristic is that they are contagious — so they’re spreading very, very widely. And as such, it’s finding people who are more susceptible, including those people who have not yet taken advantage of the current vaccine.”

Is vaccination a way to protect yourself against another possible COVID wave?

Dr Schaffner mentioned that vaccines offer protection against the new variant of COVID-19, and the health expert also urged eligible individuals to go ahead and take the complete dose of vaccine against the virus.

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Additionally, he was quoted saying, “The currently available updated vaccine still provides protection against hospitalization, but with so much widespread illness, it’s going to find older people, people who are immune compromised, people who have underlying chronic medical conditions — those are the folks we’re seeing who currently are requiring hospitalizations.”

Along with vaccination, public health experts also recommend wearing face masks and following precautionary measures. In this regard, the head of emergencies at WHO, Dr Michael Ryan, said, “The vaccines may not stop you from being infected, but the vaccines certainly significantly reduce your chance of being hospitalized or dying.”

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