UK COVID-19 Strain
By: Griffen Cournoyer
A new strain of the Covid-19 virus is causing another wave of shutdowns across the UK. Officials in France and other European countries have closed borders to try and stop the spread of this new strain as trucks filled with packages for the Christmas season are stopped. Dover port, one of the busiest ports of entry in the UK, has trucks stopped for miles off the side of the road, raising concerns of food shortages. Canada has joined in attempting to quarantine, having banned all flights to and from the UK since Friday the 18th.
In an interview with Judy Woodruff of the PBS Newshour, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated the newly mutated virus may already be in the US. “When you see something that is pretty prevalent in a place like the UK — there are also mutations that we’re seeing in South Africa — and given the travel throughout the world, I would not be surprised if it is already here,” he commented. The US has not put any travel restrictions to and from the UK since this new strain appeared in September.
Officials and experts in the UK are saying that this new strain is 70% more infectious than other strains, causing a major spike of cases in Europe. Thankfully, experts also say the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be effective against this new strain. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA chief, in an interview on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith,” said “The question is, is this virus going to change the surface proteins in a way that can obviate either the vaccines or prior immunity, and there’s no indication that it’s doing that right now, but over time it will evolve in ways where it can probably obviate prior infection or vaccines to some degree, so we’ll probably need to adapt our vaccines over time.”
Currently, the US has no plans to close its borders to the UK as both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are shipped around the country, being the first country to employ the use of both vaccines.