- An aggressive new coronavirus strain is already spreading across some U.S. states.
- The new COVID-19 mutation is incredibly infectious but shouldn’t pose any problems for coronavirus vaccines.
- The best way to combat the new strain, according to Dr. Fauci, is to get vaccinated and strictly follow coronavirus safety guidelines.
It’s almost fitting that 2020 would end with a development that could make the current coronavirus pandemic much more dangerous. Earlier this month, health officials in the UK this month discovered a new coronavirus mutation that’s said to be more infectious than the current strain. As a result, several countries have already implemented new rules which restrict travel to and from the UK.
This week, the new COVID mutation was discovered in California and Colorado, a development that has some people worried that the pandemic might stretch out longer than initially anticipated.
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The Washington Post reports:
The California case involved a 30-year-old man who was tested Wednesday, officials said. He had no known travel history. The same is true of the two people involved in the Colorado cases. That suggests the variant, believed by scientists to be more transmissible but not more likely to sicken or kill, is freely circulating in some communities in the United States.
While the coronavirus mutation is not immune to COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, its ability to spread rapidly is certainly cause for concern.
Commenting on the new coronavirus mutation, Dr. Fauci this week told Newsweek that people must adhere to coronavirus safety guidelines:
But the thing that the Brits say is that it [the mutation] likely increases the transmissibility of the virus. If that’s the case, the things we’ve been talking about all along, we just need to make sure we do it, mainly the implementation of public health measures.
Wearing masks, keeping distances, avoiding congregate settings, doing things outdoors more than indoors, washing your hands frequently—those are the things that stop any virus, regardless of whether it mutates or not.
Fauci later added that the best way to prevent mutations is to ensure that everyone in the U.S. gets vaccinated as soon as possible. Unfortunately, vaccinating a majority of Americans isn’t something that can happen overnight. Due to manufacturing bottlenecks, it may take a few months before every American will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Earlier this week, Brett P. Giroir, the current Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and member of the White House coronavirus taskforce, told Fox News that every American who wants a coronavirus vaccine should be able to get one by June.
What’s more, Dr. Fauci previously said that healthy Americans, in a best-case scenario, could start receiving the vaccine as soon as late-March or early April. If Giroir and Fauci’s projections pan out, it’s possible that life could start returning to normal by the summer of next year.
Still, June is still six months away, which is to say we’re still a long way from being able to put the coronavirus pandemic behind us for good.