The most dominant variant of the Coronavirus currently in the United States is the United Kingdom variant also known as the B.1.1.7 variant. The B.1.1.7 variant of the Covid-19 virus is now a major cause in the number of cases across 50 of the states in America as per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Not only is this particular variant highly infectious but it also has the potential to be extremely lethal. Those who are infected with this particular variant are likely to experience severe disease, hospitalizations, and even death.
Staying Safe From Variants
Medical analyst, Dr. Leana Wen who is an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health has offered her advice on how to stay safe from the emerging variants.
Dr. Wen advises that since the B.1.1.7 variant has a higher rate of transmissibility, the public must strive to be both cautious and vigilant. Simple chores such as grocery shopping have to be done with care to limit the transmission of the variant. One of the riskiest things to do now is going to crowded places like bars or restaurants.
Dr. Wen stated that if you do eat at a restaurant, be sure to check whether that restaurant is following the guidelines that were established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. People should adhere to the social distancing norm of 6 feet when they are in public. Dr. Wen stressed that those who have not yet received the vaccination should attempt to stay at home and not dine out.
She said that there is no major difference in the way the public should take safety precautions for the B.1.1.7 variant compared to other variants. People should continue to wear their masks while in public, practice social distancing, avoid large gatherings. She also emphasized the need for everyone to take the vaccine so as to protect themselves from the Covid-19 virus and its variants.
Dr. Wen explained that the vaccine has proved beneficial in providing a semblance of protection not just from the original Covid-19 virus but it also protects people from the many variants that have emerged. It is a common fact that a vaccine cannot be 100% effective but taking the vaccination gives you a higher chance of survival against the virus.
Dr. Wen explains that as new variants emerge certain vaccines may not be as effective in defending against them. However, she explains that vaccines are the foremost tool to be used to improve the level of health and protection against the Covid-19 virus.
Dr. Wen stated that as viruses replicate, they mutate. To prevent viruses from mutating we must stop the spread of the Coronavirus entirely. Experts believe that the best way to control and slow the spread of the virus is by mass vaccination drives.
The most common victims of the B.1.1.7 variant currently are the youth. B.1.1.7 variant-related cases are seen in teenagers, people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Dr. Wen states that the reason this situation is seen is likely due to a number of factors. Firstly, most of the elderly population have already received the vaccine and therefore have a better shot at protection. Moreover, younger people are not yet vaccinated and are still quite active in public.
Dr. Wen believes that more than anything else, the variant has proved to be dangerous not based on the age of the person but due to the fact that they are vulnerable because they have not yet received the vaccination. Dr. Wen firmly advises all to take the vaccine in order to protect themselves from the Coronavirus.