BREAKING: New COVID-19 variant found in Wayne County
By Simon Albaugh – Yemeni American News
Detroit, Mich. – The new variant of COVID-19, known as the COVID B.1.1.7. Variant, has been found in four members of the Wayne County community. According to Wayne County Public Health, this COVID-19 variant is able to spread quicker and more easily, but no evidence points to more severe illness or higher risk of death yet.
Initially the first documented Michigan cases of this COVID-19 variant were found in Washtenaw County, where the cases are connected to the University of Michigan community. This variant initially was part of a genetic mutation that’s attributed to the spread in the United Kingdom. According to preliminary research by both Pfizer and Moderna, their COVID-19 vaccines are equally as effective in preventing this variant.
Public health officials in Wayne County noted that it is very common for viruses to mutate over time. Just like the seasonal flu, the COVID-19 virus mutates. This is why diseases like the common cold are so difficult to completely eradicate.
Currently, there is no mass testing for COVID variants, since current technology requires a full genetic sequencing of the virus in order to understand which variant a sick person may be carrying. The people in Wayne County were understood to either have travelled abroad or been in contact with people who traveled abroad.
In a statement published by the Center for Disease Control, the more easy to spread COVID variant is not deadlier, but not using social distancing measures can still put a strain on public health infrastructure.
“An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths,” says the CDC Statement. “Rigorous and increased compliance with public health mitigation strategies, such as vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine will be essential to limiting the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and protecting public health.”
Wayne County health officials call for the same rigorous following of social distancing guidelines.
“As we administer our vaccine, it is important for people to mask up, wash their hands frequently, and avoid large groups,” said Dr. Mouhanad Hammami, Chief Health Strategist for Wayne County. “We are vaccinating people as fast as vaccine is available to us. Until then, we need to keep doing the safe practices we know help lower the risk of catching or spreading the virus.”