Is Covid over? We wish.
Like us, you’ve probably wrapped your brain around the fact that Covid — and variants of the virus — are still hanging around.
And unfortunately Covid cases are on the rise.
Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported almost 35,000 people in the U.S. were admitted to the hospital with Covid during the week of Dec. 24. That’s an uptick of more than 20% from the week before. And Covid death rates increased by 12.5% from Nov. 11 to Dec. 30.
New Covid variant
The latest Covid variant, JN. 1, may be behind the intensity of the recent spread. Data from the CDC shows JN.1 accounts for about 6 out of 10 of all circulating Covid variants, an increase from the estimated 4 out of 10 two weeks before.
Researchers have been tracking the new Covid variant for months. Its continued growth may mean that it’s easier to spread or better at attacking the immune system compared to earlier variants. And it’s not just the U.S. — infections caused by JN. 1 are increasing around the globe.
Despite the spike in cases in the U.S., the CDC said there’s no evidence that the JN. 1 variant causes more severe disease or different symptoms and the number of Covid deaths and hospitalizations are still lower compared to January 2023.
Read: Are You at High Risk of Severe Disease from Covid-19? >>
Vaccines can help protect against the new Covid variant
The best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe is to get the updated Covid vaccine. Viruses have the ability to change, but staying up to date with your vaccines significantly reduces the chance you’ll get seriously ill or die from Covid.
The CDC said the current vaccines work to protect against serious illness and death from the JN. 1 variant and all Covid variants.
Read: Choose to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones: Get Vaccinated Against Covid >>
The CDC reports less than 2 out of 10 people in the U.S. have received the latest Covid vaccine. And only about 4 out of 10 adults 65 years and older have received the updated vaccine. But it’s not too late to get it. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting up to date on your Covid vaccine or find a pharmacy near you to get the shot.
You can also help protect yourself from Covid by wearing a mask in public, washing your hands frequently and staying away from people who may be sick.
If you’ve been exposed to someone who has Covid, take a Covid test, isolate yourself if you have symptoms and wear a mask if you have to be around people.
We all wish Covid was over, but the truth is it’s not. Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect against serious illness — or dying — from Covid.
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