COVID-19 Variant Has Been Confirmed In The U.S.April 12, 2021 12:51 pm
Is there a new COVID-19 variant?
Yes. There are three new concerning variants that are circulating in the USA – The UK variant, the South African variant, and the Brazilian variant.
Is the new COVID-19 variant in New Jersey??
Yes. The new COVID-19 variant has been found in both the United States and Canada. These variants are most found in California, Floria, Georgia, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, and Massachusetts. They are also increasingly found in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, but here the predominant variant has been the UK variant. Locally in NJ, the UK variant appears to be most concentrated in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
Is the new COVID-19 variant more dangerous than older strains?
There has been some evidence that the UK variant is more transmissable and may be associated with an increased risk of death compared to other variants. The South African variant has no impact on severity. The Brazilian variant has many mutations which make it possible to be reinfected with this variant even if the patient has had Covid19 in the past.
Do the current vaccines work towards these new strains?
There is some concern that the vaccines may give us decreased protection against the new strains, especially the South African and the Brazilian strains. Vaccines still will protect vaccinated individuals from getting severe illness. Furthermore, some data from Brazil has shown that getting vaccinated gives patients more protection against the new strain than actually have had a prior infection. This makes it even more important to get vaccinated even if you have had Covid19 in the past.
Do I need to change my infection protection protocols to defend against this new COVID-19 change?
Official recommendations from health officials have not changed, but many people, even those who believe they have been being cautious, have not been fully following those recommendations. With these new, more contagious, strains of COVID-19, it is even more important to follow infection prevention guidelines.
What are the infection prevention guidelines?
- Wear a mask to protect yourself and others. While wearing a mask only moderately lowers your own risk of contracting COVID-19, it has proven highly effective at preventing infection in others if you are infected.
- Keep your distance. Stay at least six feet away from anyone who is outside of your household. (The exception is if you are fully vaccinated and are interacting with others who are fully vaccinated).
- Avoid crowds. The more people you are around and the longer the period of time, the greater the chance of spread. Avoid group gatherings, even smaller groups, especially if these gatherings are indoors or contain people who are not wearing masks.
- Wash your hands. Engaging in proper hand washing is still important to slow the spread of COVID-19, even though most transmission is believed to be airborne.
- If you feel sick stay home. Colds, flus, and allergies are bothering people nationwide, making it difficult for people to determine whether they have COVID-19 or something less harmful. If you don’t feel well, stay home until you can rule out COVID-19. Remember, even if your symptoms are caused by something else, if you are an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier, those allergy sneezes and coughs can still spread it.
What are the signs of COVID-19?
COVID-19 can present in a variety of ways. The below are some potential symptoms of COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath
- Fever or chills
- Body aches
- Loss of taste and smell
- Congestion or runny nose
- Sore Throat
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This post was written by CJ Urgent Care of NJ