Editorial Staff
1 month ago

Editorial Staff
1 month ago

Deadly JN.1. COVID variant could already be here.

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Reports from health authorities around the Caribbean and the world indicate growing concerns over the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant, JN.1.

This variant has already been confirmed in neighboring islands, causing widespread panic among health officials and the general population.

Many residents report symptoms far more severe than those associated with other Covid-19 variants.

These symptoms include serious respiratory issues, persistent coughing, headaches, weakness, and general illness. Some individuals have even developed throat and mouth infections.

The situation is particularly worrying for those who have traveled recently, as many are returning home with these symptoms.

While some people are treating their symptoms with over-the-counter drugs, others have had to be hospitalized due to the severity of their condition.

Today, health authorities in Trinidad and Tobago say they are closely monitoring the outbreak of a dangerous new variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The JN.I variant has been confirmed in Tobago, and is believed to spread more easily from person to person than other variants.

While there is no evidence to suggest that JN.1 causes more severe illness, the recent increase in deaths associated with the virus is cause for concern.

In Trinidad, from December 23, 2023, to January 15, 2024, there were five recorded deaths, with an additional six deaths recorded as of January 18, 2024.

The authorities have noted that this trend of increasing cases has been occurring globally over the last several months, and is likely due to factors such as increased movement of people during the Christmas and Carnival seasons, among other factors.

The Ministry of Health is urging citizens to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones from the spread of the virus.

They recommend practicing good hygiene to reduce the spread of viruses, including Influenza and COVID-19.

Vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, pregnant women, immunocompromised persons, and those with chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), are advised to exercise greater caution at this time.

It is essential that people weigh the risk to themselves, their families, and their communities and take the necessary precautions to safeguard lives.

What is JN.1?

A SARS-CoV-2 variant called BA.2.86 emerged a few months ago and caught virologists’ attention because it contains many more mutations—about 30 of them—to evade immunity than any other variant circulating at that time.

However, the BA.2.86 variant never came to dominate among the group of SARS-CoV-2 variants that were circulating in the late summer/early fall of 2023.

The JN.1 variant is a descendant of BA.2.86 that has acquired the ability to transmit efficiently through an additional one or two mutations. It has the immune evasion of its parent but has now mutated to transmit more efficiently.

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