New Strain of COVID-19
Public concerns about COVID-19 have decreased since the creation of the COVID-19 vaccines. Individuals are starting to lose fear and go out more. However, an international team of researchers has found evidence that the new P.1. (Gamma) variant, first seen in Manaus, Brazil, is up to twice as transmissible as previous strains. Although the country is home to less than 3% of the world’s population, Brazil currently accounts for a third of the daily global deaths due to the P.1. strain.
The P.1 strain was first seen in Manaus, Brazil. Research suggests that the virus has been around since late last year, though the spread began in November, driven by overburdened hospitals. The P.1 strain is up to 2.2 times more contagious and 61% more able to reinfect individuals than previous versions of the virus. In addition to Brazil, 37 other countries are now infected with the new strain, suggesting that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over. While vaccines may offer protection against the virus, many individuals derive a false sense of security from them, as people travel more often and slowly forget about the risks associated with COVID-19. To exacerbate the situation, the P.1 strain has traveled 4,544 miles and is infecting individuals all over the U.S.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has been closely monitoring these new variants. The first identified cases of the variant P.1 in the U.S. was seen in Minnesota, where an individual was hospitalized for nine days. The symptoms started 14 days after their trip to southeastern Brazil. Unfortunately, the individual was unaware of his state before the symptoms and infected individuals from the same household. This is only one cause of many—nearly 5,000 individuals died from COVID-19 in the final months of last year.
There are three vaccines authorized by the FDA: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. The vaccines have different age recommendations, with the Moderna recommended for adults 18 and over, according to the Omni Family Health faculty. Despite their differences, all three protect against serious illness from COVID infections. Also according to the Omni Family Health faculty, there is little evidence showing that the new COVID strains are resistant to the vaccines. Individuals are strongly advised to get vaccinated.
Wearing masks was the first crucial step to stopping the spread of COVID-19. Now there are three vaccines to stop the virus from spreading and protect individuals from the new strains.