ANI Photo | JN.1 variant is fast spreading; vulnerable for older people with multiple comorbidities: Health expert

Amid the emergence of a fresh coronavirus subvariant JN.1, Co-Chair, IMA COVID Task Force Dr Rajeev Jayadevan on Thursday said that the new strain can be problematic for people of old age and those with multiple comorbidities.
“JN.1 is a fast-spreading variant, it could go into the next tier of the population, which is the vulnerable age group, older people and also people with multiple comorbidities. In such individuals, their underlying conditions can destabilise and could result in their hospitalisation and complications after that,” the health expert said.
He said a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases has been seen from November.
“For the past few weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing. If you look at respiratory illnesses in general, the contribution of COVID is much greater in December, compared to November and that was much greater than in October. In August, September, and October, very few COVID cases were there, almost absent, even after testing. But that changed since November and December,” he said.
Dr Jayadevan said that, however, people, suffering from COVID-19, are not requiring the need to be hospitalised.
“Fortunately, most of these people are not requiring hospitalisation that’s because most of the COVID cases are now occurring in the people who are travelling and who are well enough to go to work,” he said.
“Many people confuse COVID for the common cold. It’s very different, COVID-19 can affect the health of our blood vessels, especially if it comes again and again. So while we can get common colds again and again,” he explained
The health expert also said that it’s better to take precautions rather than getting COVID-19 infection.
“COVID-19 is best avoided, even if the initial symptoms are mild. The reported numbers will be an underestimate because very little testing is actually going on,” he said.
Emphasising testing, Dr Rajeev said, “The advantage of testing is twofold. One, we can take precise precautionary measures to stop its spread deeper into our community. Secondly, it will tell us the changing nature of the virus.”
“So we can take customised measures in the future without testing we will reflect light besides COVID, influenza and other viral illnesses are also in circulation. Wearing masks in high-risk settings is a good idea during times of a COVID surge. We have been monitoring the test positivity rate of COVID among people with flu-like symptoms in Kerala. And in our network we found that the percentage increased from 1 per cent to 9 per cent to 30 per cent in a matter of two months,” he added further

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