It is no surprise to health experts that there is a new COVID mutation, as viruses are always mutating. However, the newest and first variant under investigation in December 2020 (dubbed as VUI-202012/01) is causing some concern. The most concerning aspect is that it appears to spread much more rapidly than the original virus.
Now, you are probably wondering how to know if you have the new COVID mutation or the original.
In an interview with Eat This, Not That, Darren Mareiniss, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College – Thomas Jefferson University, was asked for all the signs and symptoms of the new variant. Continue reading to ensure the health and safety of yourself and others.
Current Testing Does Not Discriminate Strains
According to Dr. Mareiniss, the new strain would give you the same symptoms as the old original one. These symptoms include fever, fatigue, muscle ache, chills, sore throat, loss of taste and loss of smell.
So, differentiating between the two strands is difficult. And, as of now, “current testing does not discriminate between different strains,” Maereiniss says.
Experts believe the virus mutated in Southeast England (London or the county of Kent) sometime in September 2020. However, the government was not notified about it until Dec.18, when Susan Hopkins of Public Health England (PHE) learned that the variant might increase the reproductive rate by 0.4 or more, meaning it is up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original virus.
“The increase in cases linked to the new variant first came to light in late November when PHE was investigating why infection rates in Kent [in southeast England] were not falling despite national restrictions. We then discovered a cluster linked to this variant spreading rapidly into London and Essex,” PHE said.
How To Avoid All Coronavirus Strains
A more transmissible strain means more people will become infected in a shorter period of time, no matter if the symptoms are the same or not as severe. However, even if individual infections are not as deadly as the previous strain, a greater number of people will become infected, leading to more overall deaths.
“VUI-202012/01 will cause more infections, likely more deaths, and also overwhelm our healthcare resources more rapidly,” Dr. Mareiniss said. “Given the more transmissible strain, it’s even more important that people socially distance and avoid congregating indoors.”
So, no matter where you live, continue following the safety regulations and recommendations. Wear your face mask, avoid large crowds, stay six feet apart, avoid going indoors with those you’re not sheltering with, practice good hand hygiene and get vaccinated once it is available to you.Related: Dr. Fauci Discusses New COVID Mutation