A total of 109 JN.1 COVID variant cases have been reported in the country as of December 26, Health Ministry sources said on Wednesday. As many as 36 cases were reported from Gujarat, 34 from Karnataka, 14 from Goa, 9 from Maharashtra, 6 from Kerala, 4 from Rajasthan, 4 from Tamil Nadu and 2 from Telangana, the sources said.
New variants are so far mild, said experts
Amid rising concerns over the emergence of the new variant of the coronavirus, Dr Bobby Bhalotra, Vice Chairman of the Department of Chest Medicine, Gangaram Hospital, said, "The new variants are so far mild; they are from the family of the Omicron virus. So, the cases are not too much to be worried about; there is no panic as such but yes, it is a sign that it has come back again. It may flourish because it is more infectious than the normal COVID virus so we have to start taking precautions. Precaution and prevention are better than cures. Take precautions so that doesn't spread for them."
Asthma patients are getting worse due to various viruses
"There is an increase in cases of respiratory illness in OPD of 20-30 per cent due to weather changes, viral illness and an increase in pollution in the national capital," he added. He further said that patients who already have Asthma, interstitial lung disease, or COPD are getting exacerbations mostly from various viruses, including the H1N1 virus or swine flu.
"Despite having a vaccine against these viruses, especially H1N1, people are not getting themselves inoculated in time, and the immune system, which can be prevented by taking a vaccine, is not being used by many patients. So, this increasing exacerbation of breathing problems is due to viruses and more because of pollution. Pollution in our city is very high. And that impacts the lungs of patients, especially those with asthma, bronchitis, and interstitial lung disease. So that's another reason why the number of patients is higher these days in the OPDs," the Doctor said.
"Any viral flu that has some treatment and, if not controlled in time, can lead to major respiratory complications like COVID or H1N1 and swine flu. Antiviral medicines are available against them. I think if anybody has had a persistent fever for more than two or three days, his oxygen level is going down. These are the patients who should urgently get their COVID test, H1N1 or RTPCR test," he added.
If spo2 is less than 94 per cent, urgently consult a doctor
Moreover, the Doctor further said that if someone is having a high fever with respiratory symptoms like chest pain, breathlessness and a fall in spo2 (by pulse oximeter), less than 94 per cent are signs prompting urgent consultation from a doctor or reaching an emergency at a nearby hospital.
Dr Bhalotra said, "The new variant is a little milder, and sometimes people don't even have fever, muscle pains, body aches, bone pains, breathlessness, or coughs primarily. So there's a little variation in the symptoms." He further said that the patients are recovering within a week's time. "The respiratory symptoms also get started reducing very shortly; whether the patient has a pre-morbid condition like diabetes compromised, then they take more time to recover," Dr Bhalotra said.
Take adequate precautions
The doctor stated that people should take precautions and maintain distance. "Maintain a distance of six feet, sanitise your hands well and wear a mask whenever you're in a crowded place," he added. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified JN.1 as a variant of interest, distinct from its parent lineage BA.2.86. However, the global health body emphasised that the overall risk posed by JN.1 remains low based on current evidence.