I had a less than Merry Christmas. I was supposed to travel to see family over the holidays but the day before my husband and I were supposed to leave he tested positive for COVID. Three days later I tested positive too.

It was the first time either one of us tested positive for COVID. We suspect we caught the new variant of COVID: JN.1.

The Status of the New COVID Variant and Spread of Respiratory Illness

The CDC released information indicating that the new variant is the most common variant right now. From a release on January 5:

 JN.1 is now the most widely circulating variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States and globally. At this time, there is no evidence that JN.1 causes more severe disease. - CDC.gov

The CDC also says that "COVID-19 activity is currently high."

Other respiratory illnesses like RSV and influenza are going around right now, too. You can see a map of which states have the most activity for respiratory illness on a scale from "minimal" to "very high." According to the map, Montana has a high level of activity right now.

CDC respiratory illness map

Symptoms from the New COVID Variant

When my husband and I came down with COVID we experienced several of the common symptoms identified by the CDC:

  • sore throat
  • congestion and a runny nose
  • headache
  • body aches
  • loss of taste and smell

See the full list of common COVID symptoms from the CDC

But news circulated that there might have been new symptoms that came along with the J1.N variant. However, in a quote given to Newsweek by a CDC spokesperson, they said, "There is no data that would indicate JN.1 infection produces different symptoms from other variants."

If you do test positive for COVID be sure to review the recommendations for isolation and mask use as they have changed since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Gallery Credit: Stacker

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