Coronavirus cases saw a 20 per cent increase in daily admissions in the week leading up to December 22.
This surge in cases is due to the emergence of a new strain of the virus, JN.1, which experts believe may be more transmissible than previous variants.
JN.1 is a descendant of the Pirola variant, which evolved from the Omicron strain.
Chief of infectious diseases at the University of Buffalo, Thomas Russo, stated, “There is some data that suggests JN.1’s parent BA.2.86 may be more transmissible than previous variants.”
“Since JN.1 is a derivative of BA.2.86, there is a concern that it may be more transmissible.”
“The updated vaccine is closer to JN.1 than our old vaccine, the hope is that, even if we see more cases with JN.1, the updated vaccine will protect against severe disease.”
Covid infections can result in Long Covid, a persistent infection that causes symptoms for weeks or even months.
Healthcare data scientist Professor Christina Pagel warned that as many as 200,000 people may be at risk of developing Long Covid in the current wave.
She predicts that this wave will have as high an infection rate as those seen in 2022, but hospitalizations will not reach those levels, thanks to vaccinations.
Long Covid symptoms include extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, loss of smell, and muscle aches.
JN.1 Covid variant symptoms
Symptoms of the new JN.1 strain of coronavirus include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
What to do if you have Covid symptoms?
NHS guidance says: “You may be able to look after yourself at home if you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19.
“You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.
“If your child has mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat or mild cough, and they feel well enough, they can go to school or childcare.”
The NHS recommends that if you’ve tested positive for Coronavirus, you should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for a certain number of days, depending on your age.