Here’s What the CDC Knows About the New COVID Strains
New COVID strains, also known as COVID-19 variants, have been identified in various parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom and South Africa, among others. This has naturally led many of us to be concerned over what these variants mean and whether this changes the risks we face.
The CDC Has Discussed new COVID Strains
The CDC is keeping a close eye on the development of new COVID strains. In fact, it has created a page about COVID-19 variants and what they mean. That page started by pointing out that the variants are emerging rapidly. It also shared that while scientists are working quickly to discover how those variants differ in terms of spread, severity of illness, and whether protection is provided through authorized vaccines, they remain new and learning takes time.
To be clear, this article was written at the start of February 2021, and information is changing and evolving with each passing day. To inform yourself about the latest development in COVID strains, visit the CDC page or head to another official health information source.
What Does the CDC Know About COVID-19 Variants?
According to the official CDC website, variants and new COVID strains were not unexpected. This is among the reasons that the recommendations have included hand washing, wearing masks, and social distancing/physical distancing. The more viruses spread, the more they replicate, opening the opportunity for mutation into new forms.
The site also identified the known variants that are currently circulating globally. At the time of this writing, these included:
- The United Kingdom (UK) identified variant – This is known as B.1.1.7 and occurred following many mutations in the fall of 2020. It is a more rapidly spreading version of the virus than other COVID-19 variants. It may also be associated with a higher risk of death than other variant viruses, though studies have yet to confirm that suspicion. It has been in the United States since at least December 2020 and has been detected in many countries worldwide.
- The South Africa identified variant – This new COVID strain is known as B.1.351. It came about through completely different mutations than the B.1.1.7, though it does share certain mutations. It was first detected in early October 2020 and was first detected in the United States near the end of January 2021.
- The Brazil identified variant – Known as P.1, this was first spotted in travelers from Brazil who were tested in Japan upon arrival in routine airport screenings. This variant involved certain mutations that could impact the body’s ability to recognize it with its antibodies. It was first detected in the United States near the end of January 2021.