The new, highly-contagious strain of COVID-19 that has come out of the United Kingdom recently shouldn’t be a cause of major new concern, according to multiple experts monitoring the situation. .
World Health Organization officials say they have no evidence that the new strain of the coronavirus causes more severe symptoms or is more deadly than what has already been seen, according to Reuters. “It’s very important to tell the public the way it is, but it’s also important to get across that this is a normal part of virus evolution,” emergencies chief for the WHO Mike Ryan reportedly said.
Testing chief for the White House coronavirus task force Admiral Brett Giroir echoed a similar stance, telling CNN that Americans have “every reason to believe that the vaccine will be effective” against all strains of the virus, the Washington Examiner reports. Giroir said he wasn’t trying to downplay the new strain, but like the WHO, pointed out that the new strain doesn’t appear to be more harmful than what people are already dealing with.
WHO officials do believe the new strain can spread more easily than other forms of the virus, Reuters reports. Ryan said the travel restrictions being imposed by some countries on Britain are “prudent”, but “it is also important that everyone recognizes that this happens, these variants occur.” (RELATED: Congress Finally Compromised On A Coronavirus Relief Bill. Here’s What’s In It)
The United States might decide to ban travel from the United Kingdom where a new variant of the coronavirus has spread, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said on Monday, but he added nothing had been decided yet. https://t.co/eAfldCwqmM
— Reuters Health (@Reuters_Health) December 21, 2020
WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan reportedly agreed with Giroir’s assessment of current vaccines, saying that none of the mutations seen have “made a significant impact on either the susceptibility of the virus to any of the currently used therapeutics, drugs or the vaccines under development.”
Giroir said the new strain, discovered in September, could already be in the United States but still be undetected. A number of countries around the globe have banned travel to and from the U.K. in response to the new strain, but the United States has not done so.