A sudden rise in Covid cases driven by a new variant named JN.1 has triggered concerns across the country. Several states have started issuing mask advisories while experts suggest aggressive testing.
As many as 358 Covid cases were reported across the country in the past 24 hours with Kerala accounting for 300 of them. Six Covid-related deaths were also reported during this period.
India currently has 2,669 active cases of Covid, the health ministry dashboard showed on Thursday morning. The daily figure of 614 reported yesterday was the highest since May.
The World Health Organization has classified JN.1 as a “variant of interest”, but said it does not pose a major risk.
Here are the symptoms to look out for the new variant:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Gastrointestinal problems in some cases
- Extreme fatigue
- Exhaustion and muscle weakness
Doctors suggest getting a Covid test done only if the symptoms persist for over two days.
Former WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, speaking to NDTV on the latest round of spike in infections, has cautioned against dismissing Covid as a common cold, not just because of people who fall severely ill, but because of its long-term effects.
“We’re seeing a new variant, the JN.1, which is a sub-variant of Omicron. So hopefully it behaves like Omicron, which was relatively mild. But what happens is that every new variant gets some properties of being more transmissible,” she said.
The strain is able to evade or avoid the antibody responses that we already have in our system and therefore it is able to create these waves of infection where it infects people who’ve already been infected before, explained the former WHO chief scientist.