Increased JN.1 Cases in India: Is India nearing a fresh COVID surge?

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India Confronts the Rise of JN.1 COVID-19 Variant

In the last quarter of 2021, India noticed the first occurrence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. This swiftly contributed to a third wave of the pandemic across the nation. Currently, India is seeing an upswing in the number of JN.1 cases, causing apprehension about a potential fourth wave of COVID-19.

India’s COVID-19 Update

As of 20th December, there are 21 confirmed cases of the new JN.1 sub-variant in India. This sub-variant is a descendant of the Pirola variant. Among the reported 21 cases, 19 are from Goa, and Maharashtra and Kerala have one case each. This increase in JN.1 cases started with the detection of the first case in Kerala on 8th December in a woman aged 79 from the Thiruvananthapuram district.

The identification of the COVID sub-variant, labelled as a ‘variant of interest’ by the World Health Organization, has led the central government to issue an advisory to states and Union Territories regarding the situation. Medical specialists are advising people to continue with precautionary measures like adhering to mask wearing in crowded spaces, particularly for the elderly and those with co-morbidities.

Concerns with the Rising COVID cases

By the mid-week, the country witnessed a surge in COVID-19 cases, marking the highest since 21st May. Based on the data, India registered 614 new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours, with Kerala reporting three deaths. The ongoing active caseload in India totals 2,311 and the comprehensive death toll is approximately 5.33 lakh.

As per the Union health ministry data, Kerala reports the highest spike with 292 cases. Following Kerala is Tamil Nadu with 13 new cases, Maharashtra with 11 cases, Karnataka with nine new cases, Telangana and Puducherry with four new cases, Delhi and Gujarat with three new cases, and Goa and Punjab with one new case each.

In addition to the new infections, three new deaths were also reported from the state of Kerala.

Preparedness Against the JN.1 Variant

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya reviewed the preparedness of health facilities all across the country and stressed on maintaining vigilance against emerging strains of coronavirus. In a high-level meet, he requested the states and Union Territories to conduct mock drills of hospital preparedness, enhance surveillance, and improve communication with the public.

“Today I reviewed the preparations related to respiratory illnesses (including COVID-19) and public health with the health ministers and senior officials of all states and UTs. All states have maintained a positive outlook for better implementation of health facilities”, tweeted Dr Mansukh Mandaviya on 20th December.

The Threat of New Variants

This surge in COVID-19 cases has raised questions about the potential risks associated with the new JN.1 variant. Health experts and the scientific community are closely monitoring the situation and studying the characteristics of this new variant. Whether or not it will trigger a winter wave for India remains to be seen.

All this information comes from the esteemed source of Reader Wall.


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