If You're Under This Age, You're More Likely to Get the New COVID Strain
A new strain of the coronavirus has given cause for concern in the UK. Experts noted that the virus could potentially be 70 percent more contagious than previous strains. Medical experts and health officials are now trying to weigh all possible effects of the new strain, and while most are confident it shouldn't decrease the vaccine's effectiveness or increase the death rate, there can be some notable differences, including the age group of those affected. The latest data in the UK suggests that the new strain of COVID could be particularly contagious in children under the age of 15. Read on to see what experts this means for the future of the pandemic, and for more clues about possible signs of being sick, see how to tell if your stomach is crippled, doctors say.
During a press conference on December 21st, scientists advising the UK government announced that there were significant differences between the previous strain of the virus and the new variant, which is currently responsible for 60 percent of cases in London and the south-east of England. "There is an indication that children are becoming more likely to be infected," Neil Ferguson, PhD, infectious disease epidemiologist at Imperial College London and member of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (NERVTAG) told reporters.
Ferguson explained that reported case data showed a general shift in age demographics during the lockdown, which took place in England in early December - a period when schools were kept particularly open. Numbers showed that children who were still exposed to others their age in classrooms saw an increase in cases where adults stayed at home, suggesting that the virus may have adapted to spread among younger hosts, reports The Independent.
"We didn't find any causality, but we can see it in the data," Ferguson explained. "We need to collect more data to see how it behaves in the future. But what we have seen over a period of five or six weeks is consistently the proportion of cases in the second pillar for the variant under 15 years of age statistically significant higher than the non-variant virus. "
The discovery of the likely highly contagious nature of the new strain has led British officials to place restrictions on holiday celebrations, as well as other countries imposing travel bans on visitors from the UK. While more research remains to be done, scientists already have some theories of what the latest version of the novel coronavirus might contain. Read on to see what this could mean for the next phase of the pandemic, and to find out more about the latest developments with the new strain, read a White House report that issued this warning about the new COVID mutation has given.
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It's probably more contagious.
A mother, a father and their two daughters sit on a couch with tablets and devices and wear face masks.
During a government news conference on December 19, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "While there is considerable uncertainty, it can be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the old variant, the original version of the disease. These are early dates and are subject to change a review. "
While some early reports indicated that computer models had determined this number, scientists soon added their support to the theory. "We are now very confident that this variant has a transmission advantage over other virus variants in the UK," said Dr. Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Oxford University and Chairman of NERVTAG, on December 21st press conference. For more information on the recent spread of COVID, see Almost all COVID transmissions happen in these five places, Doctor says.
It's probably no more deadly.
A nurse in full protective gear shows a framed photo to an elderly patient in a hospital bed suffering from COVID, wearing a face mask and oxygen mask
While the strain may be more easily spreading, UK Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty had some positive news during the government press conference. There is currently no evidence that the new strain is causing a higher death rate, although urgent work is underway to confirm this. "
During an appearance on Face the Nation on December 20, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD confirmed that the new strain "is unlikely to be more lethal". Gottlieb stated that the new strain of COVID "doesn't appear to be more virulent or dangerous than ordinary COVID," although he also admitted that more research needs to be done. And for more COVID symptoms that can be easily ignored, watch how to tell if your back pain is COVID, doctors say.
It shouldn't affect the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Woman in surgical mask receiving covid vaccine from medical professional in blue scrubs and surgical mask
Despite subtle changes in the genome of the novel coronavirus, British chief advisor Patrick Vallance emphasized at the press conference that the vaccines currently available against this new variant are still effective.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, said on Face the Nation Sunday that he had the same confidence. "At the moment we have no evidence that this will affect our ability to keep vaccinating people," he said. For more information on the vaccine, see If You Did This In 2020 You Can Get Your COVID Vaccine Earlier.
The virus will continue to mutate.
Young woman wearing disposable face mask while driving in the car. Mask is disposable earloop face mask with filters against bacteria.
Although the news of a new contagious strain of the novel coronavirus comes as a shock to many, experts are quick to point out that mutations are the same for all viruses. "I don't think there should be any cause for concern right now," said Dr. White House COVID-19 Test Tsar Admiral Brett Giroir on ABC News' The Week on December 20. "We keep watching. ... But viruses are mutating here too, over 4,000 mutations we've seen so far in this virus, and it's still essentially acting like COVID-19." Sign up for our daily newsletter to subscribe to receive more regular COVID updates straight to your inbox.
It's already abroad.
A young couple wear face masks while sitting in a transit lounge waiting to travel during the vacation.
Despite early efforts to contain the new strain, it may be too late to prevent it from spreading outside the UK. "We believe the same is the case in other countries," Vallance told reporters on December 19. According to the World Health Organization, the new strain has also found its way to Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands, and Italy has reported cases as well. For more symptoms to note as the virus spreads, see If your symptoms appear in this order, you might have severe COVID.
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