CDC Reports Dominance of New COVID-19 Variant Across the United States

In a recent update, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the new COVID-19 variant JN.1 is persistently spreading throughout the United States, having nearly doubled its prevalence in the past two weeks. As of December 22, the CDC noted that JN.1 is causing a growing proportion of infections and has become the most prevalent variant in the country, comprising approximately 39 to 50 percent of all COVID-19 variants. This marks a significant increase from the 15 to 29 percent observed two weeks ago.

JN. 1’s continued growth suggests that the variant is either more transmissible or better at evading our immune systems than other circulating variants. It is too early to know whether or to what extent JN.1 will cause an increase in infections or hospitalizations,” the CDC said. “We’re also seeing an increasing share of infections caused by JN.1 in travelers, wastewater, and most regions around the globe,” it added.

COVID-19 activity across the U.S. is “elevated and increasing” but “not dramatically,” the CDC said. Historical data shows that the current rash of COVID-19 infections across the country is smaller than previous years’ increases.

Days before, the U.N.’s World Health Organization (WHO) listed the COVID-19 sub-variant JN.1 as a “variant of interest,” but it noted there is currently no evidence suggesting it’s more severe or a significant health risk.

Because of the “limited evidence” currently accessible, the U.N. agency stated that the variant “may lead to a rise in SARS-CoV-2 cases amidst an increase in infections from other viral and bacterial sources, particularly in countries entering the winter season,” referencing the virus responsible for COVID-19.

The most recent CDC update coincides with a statement from the agency’s director, Dr. Mandy Cohen, advising individuals who are unwell to “please stay home.” However, she did not reiterate the CDC’s pandemic recommendations that urged everyone to stay home, regardless of their health status.

“Avoid spreading germs to others, especially your loved ones who are at higher risk of getting very sick. Also, get tested, so you know what you have and can get treatment,” she said on X.