Health Experts Say New COVID-19 Strain is More Transmissible
A new strain of COVID-19, first seen in the United Kingdom, has been found in Michigan.
Health experts say it’s more transmissible than previous strains.
“It seems to be easier to pass around so that increases the potential that more people will be exposed,” said Dr. Jon Sangeorzan with Mclaren Hospital in Petoskey. “We don’t know that it’s any more deadly or perhaps that it’s even less deadly than the original strains. We just know that it seems to be easier to pass from person to person.”
Chief Medical Officer with Munson Healthcare, Dr. Christine Nefcy says they’re preparing for the possibility of this strain increasing hospitalizations. “We don’t know that to be the case but just looking at what’s gone on in the United Kingdom, we’re sort of assuming that that potential is there for us as well,” she said. “We double checked to see that our testing capability actually tests for the new variant and it does. We also looked at Pfizer and Moderna about the data around the protectiveness of those vaccines. So, the news on that front is developing but it looks good so far.”
Dr. Sangeorzan says people can protect themselves by continuing to follow the guidelines put out by the CDC. “Good quality mask use when in public. Hand hygiene regularly, especially when you leave the house. Social distancing, and if everyone were to adhere to those, then we wouldn’t be having to have a conversation about viral mutations,” he said.
He added further mutations are expected as it’s a normal part of a virus’s life cycle.