KYW Medical Report: What we’ve learned about new COVID-19 strain

Doctor filling syringe from a vaccine bottle
Doctor filling syringe from a vaccine bottle Photo credit kovop58/Getty Images
By KYW Newsradio

KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross.

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Researchers have had several weeks to study the new strain of coronavirus, and there is much that they have learned already.

At this point, the COVID-19 mutant strain has been detected in a very small fraction of infections but it is clearly showing signs of spreading.  According to the CDC, it’s not expected to slow down.

Experts believe that the new strain is not more aggressive in the way it attacks someone once they have the virus in their system, but there is a major problem because the transmissible virus could drive more patients into hospitals and boost the COVID-19 death toll.

It also could slow down the march toward herd immunity.

The percentage of people who need to be immune for a population to achieve herd immunity is higher for more infectious pathogens.

We need to keep vaccinating as safely and rapidly as we can and we need to social distance, wear masks and wash hands.