It’s Not Over

It%27s+Not+Over

Stella Brewer, Social Media Editor

     Having lived for nearly a year in a global pandemic, many people have become fairly used to life in a pandemic. COVID-19 has become the main topic of conversation in every household. With the new vaccine being issued, many people are starting to have hope for a new future.

     However, just as 2020 started to get better, more bad news was revealed. There is a new COVID strain found in both Ohio and the United Kingdom that appears to be much more contagious than the original strain. Researchers in Ohio explain that the new strain may be much more contagious, but the symptoms appear to be dulled. Fewer people are dying as compared to the original strain of COVID, but more people are contracting the new virus. Upon first glance, the new strain does not seem to be that much of an issue considering that far less people are getting horribly sick, but the number of cases of the new strain will rise much faster than the original strain and will potentially present even more danger. 

     “I think that the new strain could possibly cause more damage than the first strain if not controlled properly,” SA Junior Mckenna Wheatley said. “Hospitals will become overwhelmed and there will be less space for those who truly need it.” 

     According to Dr. Dan Jones, who led the study in Ohio, the new strain likely originated in Columbus, Ohio and throughout a three week period, became the dominant strain in that area. According to Jones, the new strain has the same genetic “backbone” of the original strain, but three simple genetic mutations have caused a significant evolutionary change in the new strain. 

     Researchers are trying to calm the nerves of the public by explaining that it is likely that the vaccine will cover most strains of the virus and that new strains are not making the vaccine any less effective. Both Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccine’s effectiveness against the new mutated version of the virus. Moderna put out a statement explaining that they expect for their vaccine to produce enough immunity to protect against the new variants. Both companies are performing tests in the coming weeks to further prove their hypotheses. 

     “I think that there is nothing to worry about,” says SA sophomore Sophia Brown. “Trusting others has become a really big part of this journey through the pandemic, and I don’t think we should stop now.”

     Dr. Bruce Vandolff, the chief medical officer of the Ohio Department of Health, said in a statement on CNBC on Wednesday that the arrival of a new strain is concerning, but if everyone continues to wear masks and continues to social distance, people will be protecting themselves and others around them from a deadly virus.

     The world is now in a period of duress as we find that the virus is mutating much faster than it has before. It is now more important than ever to protect yourself and others from unnecessary germs.