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A New COVID Variant Hits the US



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As the busy travel season unfolds, a new COVID variant has become dominant in the United States.
According to the TODAY show, a heavily mutated new COVID-19 variant called JN.1 is spreading rapidly and is now the dominant strain nationwide.
Accounting for nearly half of all new cases, the highly infectious omicron subvariant is also hitting other countries around the globe, with the World Health Organization calling it a “variant of interest” due to its “rapidly increasing spread,” the TODAY show reports.
Symptoms appear similar to other variants and can include sore throat, congestion, runny nose, cough, headache, fatigue, fever or chills, muscle aches, and loss of smell or sense of taste.
“The virus is adapting. … I think it’s getting better at infecting humans and evading pre-existing immunity in the population … but it’s not changing symptomology too much,” Andrew Pekosz, Ph.D., professor and vice chair in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told TODAY.
“Right now, JN.1 is increasing in terms of the percentage of COVID-19 cases it’s causing, and there’s also been a slight increase in total cases,” says Pekosz. “It’s probably a little bit more transmissible than its parental virus because we’ve seen an increase in case numbers that we didn’t with (BA.2.86).”