April 14, 2021

Tracking the UK variant in the US

Tracking the UK variant in the US

We have more than 50 confirmed cases of the UK virus variant in the US, as per data collected from the CDC. 


These include at least 26 in California, 2 in Colorado, 22 in Floria, and 1 each in New York and Georgia. 


Health officials are suspecting these numbers will multiply in just a matter of days. Experts have criticized the nation for not taking immediate action in time such as conducting more genetic sequencing of virus samples to keep a check on mutations.


And now, in the midst of combating the previous variant while also fighting the new UK variant, global health authorities have announced the discovery of yet another variant kind.


This particular mutation, identified in South Africa, spreads just as rapidly as the one from the UK but is “more problematic” than the other known variants. While discussing this variant, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said,


“This is a very, very significant problem ... and it’s even more of a problem than the U.K. new variant.”


This emergence of more transmissible Covid variants, alongside soaring case numbers and deaths, continues to put more pressure on our already-challenged health authorities. Time is running out as hospitalizations continue to rise and vaccination rollouts remain slow.


We are in fact“in a race against time”as epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security points out. She says,


We need to increase our speed in which we act so that we don’t allow this virus to spread further and allow this variant to become the dominant one in circulation. The clock is ticking.”


While it is known that the new variants are strongly more transmissible, it remains to be understood exactly how. At this point, authorities are recommending that stricter social distancing and masking are the best tools for protection. 


Virologist Paul Bieniasz, at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, explains the role of social interaction in the development of viruses.


"Human behavior has a very large effect on transmission — probably much larger than any biological differences in SARS-CoV-2 variants. "Americans should be doing everything they can to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, regardless of whether there has been a biological change in the transmissibility of circulating strains."


Simply put, limiting social interactions can really, ultimately help us control this deadly pandemic spread.


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We’re now entering the MOST dangerous pandemic phase What’s the big hold up in vaccine rollout?

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