News of a new strain of the novel Coronavirus, discovered in the UK, could hardly have been more unwelcome, particularly since the world is still struggling to come to terms with the ravages caused by the virus. Several countries have had to initiate panic measures to contain the spread of this new strain, which has been rapid so far.
While scientists continue to combat this new threat, we bring to you what we know about the disease and how you can protect yourself against it.
What Is It?
According to the US Centres For Disease Control and Prevention, this new variant has undergone a series of mutations that has left it with the ability to spread faster than any other strain of the virus. To be more specific, this new strain may be able to spread up to 70% faster.
Maria Van Kerkhove who serves as the World Health Organization's technical lead for Covid-19 reports a sharp rise in the reproduction number: from 1.1 to 1.5. While the infection rate is higher in people under 60 years of age, children face a significantly higher risk of infection.
On the bright side, this variant has not been observed to make people more severely ill or appreciably increase the risk of death, but that's as far as the positives go. The faster spread of the virus will lead to a greater number of infections which will invariably end in more hospitalizations and potentially, death.
How Can You Protect Yourself From It?
Luckily, this new strain does not require any additional protective measure. You don't have to deviate from established safety protocols. Doing the same things that worked against the spread of the Coronavirus, in general, will be just as effective against this new variant. This, of course, means that you'd need to remain vigilant about wearing masks and maintaining appropriate social distancing.