There’s good news on the coronavirus front: Cases are dropping and vaccine distribution is rising. But that’s no reason to let your guard down. New variants of the virus are more transmissible—and one mutation may be more deadly. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on Fox News Sunday to give this some context—and to tell you how to be careful over the next few months. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Says the Mutations are “Concerning”
“The virus keeps mutating and there’s been some recent troublesome worrisome news that the vaccines…are considerably less effective against the 351 South African variant,” said host Chris Wallace. “What are the chances that even if you get vaccinated that you have the two doses of Pfizer or Moderna—that at some point you’re going to need, they’re going to have to develop and we’re going to have to get a booster shot to deal with this or other mutations?”
“That’s going to depend completely on what the penetration and the prevalence of this mutation is,” said Dr. Fauci. “Let me give you some examples that I think could explain it right now. The 117 variant, namely the one from the UK, is really becoming more prevalent in this country. And the model predicts that by the time you get to the end of March, it might be the dominant one in this country. The good news about that, despite the fact that that is concerning, the good news is that both vaccines, the Pfizer and the Moderna that we are distributing now are very good in protecting against that particular variant. But as you suggest correctly, the situation is not the case with a South African variant. Fortunately, that’s not dominant at all in this country. However, the fact that…the vaccines do not protect as well against the acquisition of clinically apparent disease with the South African. It looks like it will be pretty good in preventing severe disease leading to hospitalization and death, but it’s only approximately about 50% effective in getting the prevention from any disease at all. But direct answer to your question: If in fact this becomes more dominant, we may have to get a version of the vaccine that is directed specifically against the South African isolet. And in fact, we are already doing preliminary and early experiments to develop such a variant of the vaccine to address that particular mutation.”
How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic
For now, follow Fauci’s fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.