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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024

Warning: JN.1 Variant may Spark the largest Covid wave yet, Virologist urges Boosters and Masks

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JN.1 strain, a potent offshoot of omicron, poses increased risk; experts encourage vigilance and vaccination

As the JN.1 variant, an offshoot of the Omicron strain, rapidly becomes the dominant strain, a leading virologist warns that the latest Covid wave could surpass all previous surges. Accounting for 65% of all cases, up from 4% in early November, the JN.1 variant is raising concerns about its potential impact on public health.

With the combination of plummeting temperatures and increased socializing during the festive season, experts anticipate that Covid cases may continue to rise throughout January. Professor Peter Openshaw, a virus expert at Imperial College London, states, “We’re going to see quite a major surge in infections over the coming weeks—the wave could be bigger than anything we’ve seen before.”

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In response to the heightened risk, Professor Openshaw suggests that individuals who haven’t received a Covid booster this winter should consider wearing masks in public. Wearing masks can help reduce the spread of infectious particles and protect both individuals and the community.

Professor Christina Pagel of University College London (UCL) echoes the concerns, predicting that the JN.1 wave may not have peaked yet and could rival or exceed the first two Omicron waves experienced in 2022. The surge in JN.1 cases highlights the ongoing evolution of new variants, emphasizing the need for continued vigilance and vaccination.

While JN.1 is considered more infectious than other current sub-variants, there is currently no evidence to suggest that it causes more severe disease. However, anecdotal reports suggest that the variant might be making people more unwell, potentially due to waning immunity.

As the virus mutates, symptoms have evolved, with reports of less common symptoms such as anxiety. The importance of booster shots is emphasized, particularly for those who haven’t received one this winter. The evolving nature of the virus and its increased transmissibility underscore the necessity of adapting public health measures to mitigate the impact of the ongoing pandemic.

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