The Moderna vaccine being approved gave hope to many Americans during these difficult times. Meanwhile, COVID-19 was announced as the nation’s third-leading cause of death, and the U.K. is on lockdown due to a more transmissible COVID-19 strain. We are now left wondering whether or not the new strain has already made its way into America.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, discussed the risks of the mutation in an interview with Judy Woodruff on “PBS News Hour.” Continue reading to find out what Fauci said to ensure the health and safety of you and those around you.
The New Mutation Might “Spread More Readily”
“It’s something you want to keep an eye out on,” Dr. Fauci told Woodruff. “You don’t want to just blow it off. Certainly not. You have to understand, though Judy, that this coronavirus is an RNA virus. That’s the makeup, the genetic makeup, and these types of viruses tend to mutate a lot. Most of the mutations have no functional relevance. This one has a suggestion that it might allow the virus to spread more readily.”
That Doesn’t Mean the New Strain is More Deadly
In regard to spreading readily, Dr. Fauci said, “we’re still seeking out evidence to prove or disprove that, but let’s make an assumption that it is, in fact, making the virus more transmissible—even though it hasn’t been proven yet, it doesn’t seem at all to have any impact on the virulence or what we call the deadliness of the virus. Doesn’t make people sicker and it doesn’t seem to have any impact on the protective nature of the vaccines that we’re currently using. So it’s something you take seriously, you keep your eye out on it and you do test to determine if there is more functional relevance than we seem to believe that there is.”
The New Mutation is Likely Already in America
“You have to make that assumption. Judy, when you see something that is pretty prevalent in a place like the U.K., they’re also mutations that we’re seeing in South Africa and given the travel throughout the world, I would not be surprised if it’s already here. When we start to look for it, we’re going to find it. Certainly, it’s not yet the prevalent one, the way it seems to have assumed that prevalent nature in the U.K., but we’re going to be looking for it right now. And I’m sure sooner or later, we’re going to run into it and find it,” Dr. Fauci said.
A Travel Ban “Might Be Premature”
“It might be premature to do that,” he said. “I don’t think that that kind of a draconian approach is necessary. I think we should seriously consider the possibility of requiring testing of people before they come from the U.K .here. But I don’t think that there’s enough evidence right now to essentially lock down any travel from the U.K., but seriously, to consider the possibility that you might want to require people who are coming here to be tested within a period of time. You know, they’re 24, 36 or 72 hours before they get on a plane to come to the United States,” Dr. Fauci said.
How To Survive This Pandemic
To stop the spread and help end the surge of COVID cases, it is very important to follow Dr. Fauci’s recommendations, especially now that there may be a more transmissible variant spreading. 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 when it becomes available to you. Continue fighting to stop the spread.Related: How Long Before the COVID-19 Vaccine Reaches You?