The Current COVID-19 Surge 2024


The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which spread globally since its outbreak in late 2019, is continuously mutating and posing challenges to public health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[1], COVID-19 has resulted in more than 6.7 million hospitalizations and more than 1.1 million deaths in the US since Jan 2020.  

The Scale of Current Surge

According to the CDC[2], COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by 20.4% in the week ending December 30, 2023. In that same period, deaths went up by 12.5%, with COVID-19 deaths accounting for 3.6% of total deaths in the United States. The CDC data tracker[1] shows a 14.3% increase in deaths during the first week of January 2024.

According to the latest updates from Michael Hoerger, Director PMC[3], we are witnessing 2 million new infections daily. Within the next 2 months, nearly one in three Americans will contract the virus resulting in a staggering 105 million infections and over 5 million long-term COVID cases.

The statistics provided by the CDC, along with insights from Time[4], the Washington Post[5], and AARP[6], bring into focus the gravity of the situation. It was revealed in the WHO media briefing[7], that the viral levels are 2 to 19 times higher than reported. They also reported over 10000 deaths in 50 countries in December 2023, and the US accounted for half of those deaths.

These numbers suggest that the 2024 Winter Surge may surpass previous waves, resulting in increased pressure on our healthcare system.

New Variant New Wave

The current surge of COVID-19 in the United States is linked to the emergence of the JN.1 variant[8], a close relative of Omicron variant BA.2.86, a strain that exhibits alarming transmissibility rates.

Recent data from the CDC’s update on January 5, 2024 [9], underscores the seriousness of the situation by revealing high viral activity levels in wastewater across all regions. Wastewater viral activity serves as an effective tool for detecting increases in COVID-19 transmission within communities. As of December 25, 2023, an unsettling 66% of wastewater samples demonstrated JN.1 as the dominant variant, an increase of 58% from the previous week. This surge in JN.1 prevalence in wastewater corresponds to the 2 million daily infections during the current surge.

New variants with increased transmissibility, along with a decrease in self-testing and waning immunity, due to low vaccination rates, create an environment where the virus can rapidly spread. Global travel patterns and the interconnectedness of our communities further amplify this challenge, as highlighted in the Washington Post[10].

Symptoms Caused by New Variant

Although the symptoms caused by infection from JN.1 are similar to other variants, they also depend on an individual’s immunity and viral load. According to the CDC[11], these symptoms include sore throat, congestion, runny nose, cough, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, fever or chills, loss of sense of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

How We Can Protect Ourselves

To mitigate the impact of this surge, a comprehensive approach is needed. The CDC emphasizes the significance of booster shots to enhance immunity, especially as protection from evolving virus strains. As of January 12, 2024 [12], only 21% of adults aged 18+ and 41% aged 65+ reported having received the updated COVID-19 vaccine. The following actions can help us protect ourselves from the current surge:

  • Get updated COVID-19 vaccine shots[13]
  • Self-test regularly with antigen tests especially if you are symptomatic
  • Minimize indoor gatherings
  • Improving the indoor air quality[14]
  • Get help from healthcare professionals [15] if you test positive
  • Use facemasks to help reduce the spread

As we navigate the current COVID-19 surge, it is important to stay informed and actively participate in the collective effort to decrease transmission. Regular COVID testing is an important tool to reduce this spread, as reported by the NY Times[16]. By implementing effective strategies, supporting vaccination efforts, and good preventive measures, we can fight this surge and work towards a healthier future.


The current surge of COVID-19, led by the JN.1 variant, underscores the need for proactive measures. As data from the CDC and other experts highlight the severity of the situation, it becomes crucial to prioritize vaccination, practice preventive measures, and conduct regular COVID testing.

Regular testing, a vital tool in identifying and preventing the spread of COVID-19, plays an important role in ensuring the health and safety of self and community.  Jant Pharmacal offers fast, accurate, and accessible point-of-care COVID-19 antigen and molecular testing kits.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “COVID Data Tracker.” 13 Jan. 2024, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  2. “COVID-19 Activity Increases as Prevalence of JN.1 Variant Continues to Rise | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 Jan. 2024,
  3. Hoerger, Mike. “PMC COVID-19 Forecast, Jan 8, 2024 (U.S.) We’re peaking at >2 million infections/day.” Twitter, 9 January 2024, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  4. “What the 2024 COVID-19 Surge Means.” TIME, 12 Jan. 2024, Accessed 24 Jan. 2024.
  5. “New COVID Variant JN1 Symptoms.” The Washington Post, 20 December 2023, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  6. “COVID-2024 Predictions.” AARP, 18 December 2023, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  7. “UN Web TV.” 12 January 2024, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  8. “JN1 Coronavirus Variant.” Yale Medicine, 10 January 2024, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  9. “JN.1 Variant Update.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 January 2024, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  10. “COVID-2024 in the U.S.: What to Know.” The Washington Post, 4 January 2024, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  11. “Symptoms of Coronavirus.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  12. “Vaccination Trends in Adults.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  13. “Stay Up-to-Date with COVID-19 Vaccines.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  14. “Improving Ventilation in Buildings.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 May 2023, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  15. “Antiviral Treatments.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 December 2023, Accessed 24 January 2024.
  16. “COVID-19 Home Tests: What to Know.” The New York Times, 11 January 2024, Accessed 24 January 2024.