While current case rates remain low, with a positive test rate under one percent at surveillance points, the National Health Commission (NHC) highlighted the increasing presence of JN.1.
“Experts have concluded that multiple respiratory diseases are likely to spread this winter and next spring,” said Wang Dayan, head of the Chinese National Influenza Center, at an NHC press conference. “Influenza viruses are expected to remain the dominant pathogen.”
Wang attributed JN.1’s rise to several factors: imported cases, lower influenza rates and declining population immunity.
U.S. disease control authority estimated that JN.1 already accounts for roughly 62 percent of cases nationwide, and it is also dominant in Europe.
Despite the relatively low current COVID-19 burden, Chinese hospitals are preparing for a potential surge. Wang Guiqiang, head of the infectious diseases department at Peking University First Hospital, outlined measures like increased training programs, improved human resource allocation and leveraging technology to streamline processes.
“High-risk groups like pregnant women, children and the elderly should prioritize annual influenza vaccination and maintain healthy habits,” Wang advised. He further stressed the importance of understanding that contracting one type of respiratory illness does not guarantee immunity against others in the short term.