Local Doctors React To New COVID Strain Found In Four States

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the new COVID-19 strain that was detected in the state after first being identified in the U.K. could be a game changer, calling it highly problematic.

The variant of the virus has been identified as B.1.1.7, and has since been detected in Colorado, California, Florida, New York and Georgia.

It’s said to be much more contagious than the current strain that we’ve seen throughout the world since the pandemic started.

Dr. Jay Sizemore, the Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Erlanger Health Systems, says that local hospitals are carefully monitoring the spread of this new variant of the virus, and that they’re making preparations if and when it makes it’s way into Tennessee.

“Before it could become the dominant strain, it may take some time, but if it were to become the dominant strain and we continue the current behavior that we’ve exhibited as a community over the last several months, it’s extremely concerning because of the infectiousness of this,” says Dr. Sizemore.

Medical experts like Dr. Mike Czarnecki, who runs a clinic dealing with the so-called “COVID long haulers”, says that while not a lot is known yet about this B.1.1.7 variant, it’s important to continue listening to experts as more information continues to come out.

“What we don’t know is whether there’s a biological effect and that this variant is actually a new strain – meaning it either causes worsening disease, or maybe it’s quicker for you to get the COVID-19 disease. If it’s increasing transmutability and there’s a biological impact effect of this new variant, we’ll start to see that in the long-haul patients,” says Dr. Czarnecki.

Czarnecki says that a silver lining of this new strain is that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have both proven to be fairly effective against it.

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