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JN.1 takes over as the most prevalent COVID-19 variant. Here’s what you need to know

By: Vanessa Romo | JANUARY 25, 2024 3:00 PM ET

A new, fast-spreading variant of COVID-19 is sweeping across the nation, making it the most widely circulating iteration of the virus in the U.S. and around the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The mutation, called JN.1, is a subvariant of Omicron that was first detected by the World Health Organization in late August. At the time it appeared to be spreading slowly but as temperatures have dipped, JN.1 has spiked.

In mid-October, CDC data shows JN.1 made up about 0.1% of all COVID-19 cases around the country. As of Jan. 20, the CDC estimates that’s now up to approximately 86%.

“Most likely, if you’re getting COVID right now, you’re getting this particular variant mutation,” Eyal Oren, a director and professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at San Diego State University, told NPR.

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