GENEVA (AP) — The head of the U.N. health agency says holiday gatherings and the spread of the most prominent variant globally led to increased transmission of COVID-19 last month.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says nearly 10,000 deaths were reported in December, while hospital admissions during the month jumped 42% in nearly 50 countries — mostly in Europe and the Americas — that shared such trend information.

He says the JN.1 variant is now the most prominent in the world.

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