What We Know About New Covid Variants

Ian Cardenas, Staff Writer

The global COVID-19 pandemic continues on into 2021, a year since it began in late January last year. Since that time, there have been 96.2 million cases and 2.06 million deaths worldwide. The COVID-19 virus originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, but since then there have been multiple new variants of the virus.

Viruses mutate over time, so new variants are expected. Some emerge and persist, while others disappear. Several variants have emerged across the world in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. These variants spread more easily and quickly, and the South African strain has “additional mutations that may affect its ability to be recognized by antibodies”, as stated by the CDC. 

Also according to the CDC, there’s currently no proof that these new variants are more deadly or cause greater sickness.

 As of right now, there are 315 cases of the UK’s B.1.1.7 strain, and 1 case of the South African P.1 strain in the United States. Scientists are working to learn more about these variants, but what is known is that the use of masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and isolation still help limit the spread of COVID-19.