ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Recent reports suggest that new coronavirus strains have been detected in other parts of the world, including the UK and South Africa.
Health experts in the UK and the US have said the strain appears to be more easily infected than others, but there is no evidence that it is more deadly.
Some countries have implemented new travel restrictions in an effort to block the spread of virus variants – which, according to health experts, appear to infect more easily than others.
The new variant, known as 501.V2, was not detected in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, the viruses were sequenced in only about 51,000 of the 17 million infections in the United States. most sequences with 125,000, according to the CDC.
The CDC issued guidance on Tuesday on the implications of the option.
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“Continued travel between the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the high prevalence of this variant among current infections in the UK, increase the likelihood of imports,” the CDC said in a statement. “Given a small portion of US infections that have been sequenced, the variant may already be in the United States undetected.”
To better track US coronavirus variants, the CDC will begin receiving 10 samples from each state in January every two weeks for further sequencing and analysis.
On Monday, when the Central Florida health official was asked if he thought the trip to the places where the “new” strains were reported should be temporarily stopped, he said it was probably too late.
“Although everyone is trying to stop the way this new strain can spread around the world, it could already be around the world, because it’s not a case identified yesterday … so this happened,” said Dr. Raul Pino, along with the Florida Department of Health-Orange County. “So it’s safe to assume that it has already spread to some places.”
Pino said in a press conference on Monday that the analysis that determined the existence of a mutation of the virus was done retrospectively, so that the virus variants have probably existed for some time.
And according to a recent report by The Associated Press, it’s normal.
Viruses evolve naturally as they move through the population, some more than others. One of the reasons we need a flu shot every year.
New variants or strains of the virus causing COVID-19 have been seen almost since it was first detected in China about a year ago.
The good news, according to Pino, is that the new vaccines just approved by US health officials are designed to protect those who are inoculated by the variants.
It is also important to know that existing vaccines will continue to be effective even against them, Pino said.
Pino said it’s important to remember that the vaccine will not completely eliminate the coronavirus and that the best way to protect yourself from any virus, including the flu, is to practice CDC guidelines.
“We are actually pleasantly surprised by how low our flu season has been this season. Although the flu is rising and falling, we believe that the use of the mask has had an impact on the transmission of influenza, “said Pino. “Therefore, it is important to continue wearing the mask and please do not trust the vaccine, because the vaccine, as we implement it, will not have an effect on the pandemic immediately.”
According to the latest data, Orange County has reported 69,491 cases of COVID-19 and more than 700 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
As of Monday night, more than 5,000 people had been vaccinated in Orange County using the Pfizer shot, according to Pino. The county is preparing to receive 16,000 doses of Moderna vaccine on Tuesday and intends to vaccinate SME staff December 26-31.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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