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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 09, 2023  2 months, 2 weeks, 2 days, 50 minutes ago

BREAKING COVID-19 News! U.S. CDC Admits That JN.1 Is Possibly More Transmissible As Infections And Hospitalizations Rise In United States!

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BREAKING COVID-19 News! U.S. CDC Admits That JN.1 Is Possibly More Transmissible As Infections And Hospitalizations Rise In United States!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 09, 2023  2 months, 2 weeks, 2 days, 50 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: In a startling turn of events, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a new report suggesting that the new SARS-CoV-2 sub-lineages, JN.1, a spawn of the highly mutated BA.2.86 variant that emerged in August 2023 is potentially more transmissible than its predecessors and is also highly immune evasive, causing a significant uptick in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations across America.

Emergence of JN.1 Subvariant and Rise in Infections

The CDC's latest estimates reveal that JN.1, a sublineage of BA.2.86 or 'pirola,' has been responsible for over 21% of new coronavirus infections in recent weeks.
The World Health Organization classifies JN.1 as a variant of interest due to its extensive mutation profile. This revelation comes at a critical juncture, with the holiday season facilitating increased travel and indoor gatherings, contributing to the accelerated spread of the virus.
Surge in COVID-19 Hospitalizations
Over the past month, the United States has witnessed a staggering 17% increase in weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations.
More than 22,500 new hospital admissions were reported, surpassing the peak observed during the late summer wave. This surge was anticipated, given the seasonal trends associated with holiday festivities and increased social interactions.
Surge In COVID-19 Deaths In America.
Latest data also shows that COVID-19 deaths in America has rise by 25% in the last week. Many physicians and experts warn that death rates will rise exponentially in coming weeks as the effects of the cold season and festivities will become more apparent!
Impact on Specific Age Groups: Seniors and Children Vulnerabilities
The disproportionate impact on specific age groups is a cause for concern. Seniors aged 65 and older continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic, with the highest rate of weekly hospitalizations, standing at 13.5% per 100,000 individuals. The vulnerability of this demographic is attributed to age-related factors and underlying health conditions, further emphasizing the urgent need for booster shots to address waning vaccine protection.
Children under the age of 4 are also facing an elevated risk, constituting the third-highest rate of hospitalizations at 1.6% per 100,000 individuals. While children generally experience milder cases, studies indicate that vaccinations significantly reduce hospitalizations in this age group.
Despite this, vaccine uptake among children for COVID-19 lags behind influenza, with 38.2% receiving flu shots compared to 6.9% for COVID-19 vaccines.
JN.1 Subvariant: The New Challenge
The emergence of the JN.1 subvariant adds a new layer of complexity to the situation. JN.1 is rapidly becoming the dominant member of the BA.2.86 family, with its prevalence skyrocketing from 8.1% to 21.4% in the last two weeks alone. It now stands as the second-most detected variant in the U.S., trailing only HV.1.
The U.S. CDC has raised concerns about JN.1's potential for increased transmissibility or immune system evasion. Although there is currently no evidence indicating a higher risk compared to other variants, the continued growth of JN.1 underscores the need for vigilance. Laboratory data suggests that existing COVID-19 vaccines, including booster shots, remain effective against JN.1.
The JN.1 variant is spreading at a phase that has not been seen with previous variants including the Omicron variant and is expected to become the globally predominant variant in the next few weeks.
In highly vaccinated Singapore, latest COVID-19 News updates shows that the JN.1 variant is currently responsible for 60% of all new reported SARS-CoV-2 infections with hospitalizations and ICU admissions also rising there!
Severity Indicators In the United States: Hospitalizations and Deaths on the Rise
As the winter holidays approach, the CDC's severity indicators for COVID-19 -hospitalizations and deaths - show notable increases over the past week. Hospitalizations are up by 17.6%, and deaths have risen by 25%, although still at a lower rate than observed in November 2022.
Moderate levels of hospitalizations are reported, primarily in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, with high levels in specific states such as Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
States reporting significant increases in deaths last week include Alabama, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, and West Virginia. The U.S. CDC emphasizes that COVID-19 remains the primary driver of viral respiratory deaths.
Seasonal Flu Activity on the Rise
In addition to the COVID-19 surge, the U.S. CDC reports a concurrent rise in seasonal flu activity, particularly in the Southeast and South-Central regions. Influenza A, with the dominant subtype being 2009 H1N1, constitutes 80% of positive samples. While flu hospitalizations are still relatively low, they are increasing, primarily affecting seniors, adults aged 50 to 64, and young children.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Concerns
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) remains a significant concern, with hospitalizations on the rise, particularly in older adults. The U.S. CDC notes that only 15.9% of eligible adults have received the RSV vaccine. Overall, RSV hospitalizations are slightly down, accompanied by a decrease in test positivity for the virus.
Early Indicators and Wastewater SARS-CoV-2 Tracking
The U.S. CDC's early indicators show rises in test positivity, up by 0.9%, and emergency department visits, up by 4%. Test positivity is higher in the Midwest, Mountain West, and Northeast regions. Infants and seniors have the highest levels of emergency department visits for COVID, emphasizing the need for targeted preventive measures.
Wastewater SARS-CoV-2 tracking, another early indicator, continues to show high levels, especially in the Midwest, indicating the widespread presence of the virus in communities.
CDC Director's Urgent Message
In a video message posted on Twitter, CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, emphasizes that it's not too late to be vaccinated against the three respiratory viruses - COVID-19, flu, and RSV. She urges the public to take additional preventive measures, including avoiding sick individuals, practicing regular hand hygiene, improving ventilation in indoor spaces, and wearing masks in crowded settings.
Call to Action: Protecting Public Health During the Holidays
As the holiday season unfolds, health experts stress the importance of staying vigilant and prioritizing public health. Dr John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children's Hospital, underscores the significance of practicing good hygiene, staying home when unwell, and ensuring proper ventilation in indoor spaces. He emphasizes that getting vaccinated and ensuring family members are vaccinated is the most significant gift individuals can give themselves and their communities during the holiday season.
In conclusion, the United States faces a multifaceted and challenging scenario with the convergence of rising COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and the emergence of the JN.1 subvariant. The public is urged to prioritize vaccination, adhere to preventive measures, and stay informed to navigate the evolving landscape of the pandemic. The holiday season, while bringing joy, underscores the need for a collective effort to safeguard public health and mitigate the impact of the ongoing health crisis.
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.


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