Chris Whitty outlines how new coronavirus variant is easily spread
Professor Chris Whitty responded to a number of critical coronavirus questions this morning on the BBC. Chief among them was how to reduce your risk of catching and transmitting the new strain of coronavirus, which is thought to be driving the surge in cases and deaths. As he explained, when you meet people from another household, the virus has the chance to be transmitted.
“It can be passed on in households when people meet people in their home, shops or any environment with an indoor setting.”
What do we know about the new variant?
All viruses undergo mutations, and through selection pressure can result in different variants.
The variant of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19) originally termed lineage B.1.1.7, was detected in November 2020 and is rapidly spreading across England and other parts of the UK.
The new variant transmits more easily than the previous one but there is no evidence that it is more likely to cause severe disease or mortality.
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The increase in cases linked to the new variant first came to light in late November when Public Health England was investigating why infection rates in Kent were not falling despite national restrictions.
PHE then discovered a cluster linked to this variant spreading rapidly into London and Essex.
The UK coronavirus variant has been identified in forty-five countries so far, with experts warning that more countries could report a steep increase in cases in the coming weeks.
Concerns have been raised over the whether transmissible variant will evade the new vaccines.
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