Understanding the COVID 19 Variants
As the COVID-19 pandemic carries on, we are learning more and more about how the virus is able to mutate and create new variants. While some variants never make it to ‘variants of concern’ status, there are a few that the public needs to be aware of and watch out for.
According to the CDC and WHO, there are four main variants of the Coronavirus that are a cause for concern. A Variant is labeled “a variant of concern” when a specific variant may be spread more easily, has more severe symptoms, or may need a different level of treatment than other variants.
Variants of Concern
As of now, there are currently four variants that have been identified as a Variant of Concern. According to the WHO, a virus variant is labeled as a Variant of Concern under the following conditions:
- A variant has increased transmissibility
- A variant has a increased level of virulence, or severity
- A variant caused a decrease in effectiveness of safety measures
The Variants Of Concern are:
While there are four main variants of concern, the Delta Variant remains the leading cause of cases in the United States, accounting for almost 99% of all reported sequenced cases. Not only is the Delta Variant almost twice as infectious as previous variants, it can also cause more severe symptoms in some.
Variants of Interest
In addition to Variants of Concern, the CDC and WHO also identify Variants of Interest that are not quite at a level or concern, but have potential to be and should be monitored.
There are currently five COVID-19 variants that have been labeled as Variants of Interest. A virus variant is labeled ‘Of Interest’ under the following conditions:
- A Variant has significant transmissibility
- A Variant features genetic changes that are known to increase transmissibility of disease severity
The Variants of Interest Are:
While there has been increasing concern around the new, Mu COVID Variant, it currently only accounts for .2% of all sequenced cases in the US at this time.
Continued Ways To Prevent Infection of COVID-19
Wear Your Mask
Many areas are reinstating mask mandates as positive cases are once again on the rise. While vaccines are showing to be effective at preventing contraction of coronavirus, their effectiveness can be affected by the specific variant contracted. Continuing to wear your mask even while vaccinated is a best practice in order to keep yourself and those around you safe.
Our top choices for protective face masks are:
Keeping Common Areas Sanitized
While there is conflicting evidence surrounding how long the coronavirus is able to survive on surfaces, it is still a good idea to make sure the surfaces you are touching are sanitized so you are not exposing yourself to unnecessary germs or contaminants.
Keeping hand sanitizer or disinfectant alcohol spray on hand is a simple and convenient way to ensure you are not exposing yourself to possible infection.