As authorities blame a new, more transmissible variant of coronavirus for the soaring infection rates in the United Kingdom and South Africa, a local infectious disease expert said instead of being afraid, people in the U.S. should keep following the same guidelines to protect themselves.
“This strain is likely in the U.S. already, given the readily available air traffic we have between the UK and the U.S.,” said Dr. Mohammed Reza. “The good thing is we can still do everything we have been preaching to people to prevent from catching this new strain as well.”
That means wearing masks, socially distancing, washing your hands and covering your mouth.
According to Business Insider, the variant has been seen in the UK, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, little information is known about the variant in the States because only about 51,000 of the 17 million U.S. cases have been researched for a new strain or variant.
The CDC says in January 2021, each state will send the health agency at least 10 samples biweekly for sequencing and further characterization, which will help monitor how this virus evolves.
Reza explained that the new strain has good and bad traits.
“This new strain doesn’t mean that the number of people that will catch this new strain that their death rate will go up to five or ten percent -- that’s really good news,” Reza said. “But what this does mean -- it’s 70 percent more transmissible. What that means is a lot more people can get this strain of the virus.”