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COVID-19 Variants Are Here – What to Do Now?

March 30, 2021

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented around the world. These coronavirus variants are occurring throughout the world including in the United States and are an expected part of virus spread. Some of these variants appear to spread more rapidly. Researchers are discovering more information daily.
Regardless of the nuances among the variants, the takeaway for the public remains the same. Staying the course, recommitting to social distancing and preventative measures, and continuing the vaccine rollout will help keep people safe from coronavirus variants, and help decrease coronavirus transmission in the community.
Variants are an expected part of viruses
The CDC explains that viruses change constantly through mutation and “new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time.” Not all variants behave the same way, however. For example, some seem to be able to spread more easily than the initial COVID-19 virus. One variant, known as B.1.1.7., has caused just over 4,500 reported cases in the U.S. as of March 15. But other variants have only been found in a few dozen cases.
The important thing is that the scientists studying COVID-19 expected the genetic mutations that create variants. They are carefully studying the variants behavior to ensure the current vaccines work properly.
Vaccine research on variants
Many are concerned about whether the current vaccines will protect against these variants. The research so far has been promising, especially as the vaccines continue to be considered safe and effective. According to current data, multiple vaccines are showing effective results against variants.
Researchers are conducting studies on many topics, including:
  • why and how some variants can spread more easily from person-to-person.
  • why they may cause a milder or more severe version of the disease.
  • if the variants can be detected by currently available viral tests.
  • how the variants respond to medications currently used to treat people for COVID-19.
  • any potential change in the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
Health officials continue to recommend that anyone who can receive a COVID-19 vaccination does so. The CDC and other public health agencies continue to track variant detection. They update their websites frequently with information as it emerges on the virus, variants, and research.
Staying safe from all variants
It is important to remain vigilant to avoid any variants of COVID-19 until we can collectively reach herd immunity. The same practices can protect you from all strains of the coronavirus. To reduce the spread, the CDC recommends unvaccinated people continue to:
  • Wear a mask.
  • Stay six feet away from others.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect.
  • Monitor your health daily.
  • As soon as you can, sign up for your vaccine.
New guidelines for fully vaccinated people allow for increased interaction and visitation with other vaccinated people.
Thanks to the accelerated vaccine rollout, more and more people are building the antibodies that will keep themselves and others safe. Herd immunity is possible so long as everyone does their part. The pandemic has impacted us all, but together we can work to remain safe and healthy.

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Stay informed by checking these resources for up-to-date information about COVID-19, especially if you’re thinking about traveling.