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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New coronavirus strains

This new year seemed to be off to a good start as the COVID-19 vaccines were announced to the public. Plans of its distribution have been shared and are currently underway. Many Americans have gained hope in the fight against the virus due to the vaccines now being administered. Many individuals are trying their best to be the first ones in line for the vaccine. Everyone is eager to get this pandemic over with as soon as possible. However, it is never that simple, unfortunately. I wish it were, but viruses are complex.
Medical professionals around the world have been discovering new COVID-19 strains these past few months. To best understand this situation and its severity, it’s important to first understand why vaccines mutate. In an article by Hopkins Medicine, Stuart Ray, M.D., Vice Chair of Medicine for Data Integrity and Analytics, explains that “variants of viruses occur when there is a change (mutation) to the virus’s genes” (1). He says, “It is the nature of RNA viruses such as the coronavirus to evolve and change gradually” (1). All RNA viruses mutate, and each virus changes at a different rate, some faster or slower than others; for example, “Flu viruses change often, which is why doctors recommend that you get a new flu vaccine every year” (1). So, what we are witnessing with COVID-19 is not new to us.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention are fully aware of these new COVID-19 strains and have released information on these new mutations. Regions that have discovered new strains include the U.K., South Africa, and Brazil (2). These new strains have raised concerns among the medical community and world powers. Countries are beginning to recognize these strains and adjust their procedures accordingly. For example, Germany has extended their lockdown into March in hopes of lowering the cases of these new strains amongst their people. Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the German government’s lockdown extension. She said that “the new strains of the coronavirus ‘may destroy any success’ already achieved in keeping the pandemic in check” (3).
The CDC has explained that, “So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize these variants,” and that they are investigating this very closely (2). It is believed that the vaccination should still work against these new strains. However, it is not completely guaranteed. That is why it is more important than ever to follow COVID-19 guidelines. Make sure to socially distance and wear a mask when out in public. Double masking reportedly is more effective in combating the coronavirus. So, grab another mask or two to wear, to be extra protected. Also, it is important to make sure your masks fit properly. If it is loose in any part of your face, it can possibly expose you and others to COVID-19. 
These new strains are daunting, but we have a world of amazing medical professionals that are continuously researching and trying their best to combat this pandemic. The CDC is a great source for COVID-19 information and updates. They are personally keeping a close track on the new strains and investigating new changes that come from these. Make sure to check out the CDC’s website regularly, so you are always in the know and can protect your health.

  1. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/a-new-strain-of-coronavirus-what-you-should-know
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant.html
  3. https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/02/11/966823691/germanys-merkel-warns-coronavirus-variants-could-destroy-gains-against-pandemic