A study has found that the new Covid-19 variant is “hugely” more transmissible than its previous version. This new variant has a much higher Reproduction aka. R. number, being between 0.4 to 0.7 more than its predecessor. That is to say, it’s 70% more efficient at infecting someone.
The latest R number in the UK is around 1.1 to 1.3. According to health authorities and scientists, this number has to be below 1.0 in order for the infection rate to start falling. Given the size of the increase in the new variant’s R number, the possibility of case numbers falling appears rather unlikely.
A professor at Imperial College, London, explained that the differences between the two viruses are really “quite extreme”. He said,
“There is a huge difference in how easily the variant virus spreads," and that "This is the most serious change in the virus since the epidemic began,”.
This new variant has been found in the USA. In fact, only last Thursday the nation confirmed its third case reported from Colorado.
According to the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci,“we likely will be seeing reports from more states. This is something that’s expected”.
Fauci talked about the new variant and explained,
“The good news is that it does not appear to be more virulent, namely, making people sicker and leading to more deaths. So that is a good thing. Obviously, we don’t want to see a virus that has a greater capability of spreading. The other thing that is important and a favorable thing is that it does not seem to evade the protection that’s afforded by vaccines that are currently being used.”
But given that our country is already facing such a tremendous challenge bringing down the infection spread, this new variant poses more threat than before or anywhere else. Not to mention that on the first day of 2021, the USA recorded its 20 millionth case, according to Johns Hopkins University.
All this urges us to be immediately and multiple times more careful than before. So will need to take any new precautions? Not exactly.
Fauci recommends taking the same precautionary actions as before but perhaps more religiously.
“The wearing of masks, the physical distancing, the avoiding crowds, and congregate settings. Those are the kind of things that will prevent this new strain from spreading even further.”
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