There are more than 300 COVID-19 variants circling the globe, but few appear as infectious and dangerous as the original strain that triggered the pandemic.

Percentages of infection from variants are rising, but the BA.5 offshoot remains the dominant strain in New Jersey.

Scientists are tracking what they have dubbed the "Scrabble variants," with names like BQ.1 and XBB (which would mean massive points in a game of Scrabble), these mutations have shown some ability to evade vaccine protections, but do not seem to cause more severe illness.

The company behind the ZOE symptom tracker app have come up with a study based on what app users are reporting as their symptoms, and they closely mimic symptoms of a common cold.

ZOE study data was also broken up into three categories: Fully Vaccinated, Partially Vaccinated and Unvaccinated.

Only the unvaccinated reported fever as a top symptom.

Townsquare Media illustration
Townsquare Media illustration

New Jersey health officials are still urging you to take a COVID test if you feel unwell and to get vaccinated and boosted.

ZOE says, based on their data, "fewer symptoms were reported over a shorter period of time by those who had already had a jab, suggesting that they were falling less seriously ill and getting better more quickly."

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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