We’ve all heard by now about the different variants of Covid-19.  Viruses are always mutating and taking on new forms – so this is nothing new and was to be expected…  

To-date there are now three variants:

The first to be identified was from the U.K (B.1.1.7) shortly after that another emerged from South Africa (B.1.351) and finally one from Brazil (P.1).

The South African variant seems to be the one to watch, there is some evidence that it may allow for reinfection. A man in France was in critical condition in mid-February – 4 months after being previously infected with the original coronavirus.  It also, seems to affect young people more than the original strains.

This strain has been found in more than 2 dozen countries.

So, what do these new variants all mean?

As countries around the world begin to offer protection by vaccinating their most vulnerable as well as people in the health care industry, the infection rate has slowly begun to decline. However, these new variants may challenge keeping this virus under control.

“These variants can change the course of this pandemic, and that is definitely concerning,” said Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an assistant professor of medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina.

The B.1.1.7. could be as much as 50 – 70% more contagious than the current variant, which means that more people are likely to get infected and according to the CDC, these variants also appear to “spread more easily and quickly” compared to others.

What that means is, more hospitalizations and eventually more deaths exactly what happened in England over that past couple of months.

It is believed by some experts that these new variants could eventually become the dominant variant in certain countries, which if that was the case could that potential mean a 3rd wave for certain countries and/or states or provinces within those countries?

The answer is yes! 

As a matter of fact many parts of Europe are now just beginning their third Covid-19 wave, medical experts believe that by pausing the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over blood clot concerns may very well be the cause that has lead to the rise in cases and a high number of deaths as the new variants account for the majority of cases.

In Canada, the new variants are proving to be a concern for the country, provinces with the highest numbers are BC, Alberta, Quebec and Ontario.  The majority of the Covid-19 cases are the B. 1. 1.7, the variant first identified in the United Kingdom.  Many health experts believe we are now in the third wave due to the high number of variant cases.   

Fortunately, the different vaccines now approved by many countries seem to be just as effective on these new variants– however the medical community are closely monitoring and studying the effects.

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