UK, Florida, United States discussed on Part Time Genius
We are in position globally that we're detecting these mutations. We know that there we have vaccine technology that potentially can overcome. Joining us now is Joel Arkin Bark science reporter at The Washington Post. Thanks for joining us to all Thanks for having me. We have kind of this good news. Bad news thing with coronavirus were seeing numbers of cases going down. We're seeing hospitalizations Go down. All great news were the Vaccine rollout is ramping up. We're starting to get about a million a day. Now it seems it's starting to get a little better on that front. But these Corona virus variants are still very concerning. We just have a new study out with some information on the UK Varian basically saying that it's doubling the infections it has here in the United States every week, and we already saw the CDC say that by March, this probably will be the dominant strain here in the United States. All the info is pointing to that. So Joel tell us a little bit more. It is a good news. Bad news situation. I am trying to focus on the good which you laid out very nicely there, Which is the numbers are going down. We are emerging from this catastrophic and very long. Surge that began, you know, back in October, the surgeon cases in hospitalizations and deaths. The final part of that the deaths are only now starting to Go down, but you know we were having 3000 or more people die every day of Cove it and so there's the natural sort of epidemiological way for you. Eventually you had a peak and the numbers start to come down for various reasons, including so many people have already gotten the virus and so on some, But now we enter this. New factor the variant. So what's it going to do? Well, it's not going to help. It may not cause another search. That's a complicated equation. But it does look like it's more transmissible and the B 117. The so called UK variant is spreading in the U. S. When we talk about location in the United States, we see that Florida has the highest estimated prevalence of this pairing, and I think California might be after them. California has a fair number of cases just wrong number of cases, but it was not doubling in speed as fast as Florida or is the benefactor assed? Fast is the country on the whole? I guess, because California maybe a little better about restrictions because he's gone to this whole crisis with so many cases recently that the big surge The statistic is a little hard to grasp. We say it's doubling. We're talking about its prevalence among positive test results. So just a few weeks ago, it was less than 1%. Positive and test results of infections confirmed infections less than 1% was this UK variant. Now it's close to 10% in Florida, so it's just taken off like crazy about every 9.8 days. Nationally, this variant doubles in prevalence. So it's on track to become essentially just take over and become the dominant strain that's moving around. That doesn't mean that every 9.8 days there's gonna be twice as many Corona virus infections because these other strains are going down. And here's the other good news. Bad news thing about it when it comes to the other strains, so the UK strain seems to be more prevalent now this one. While it's more transmissible, they say that the vaccine's effectiveness against this one is still about the same. The more troubling ones seem to be the South African and Brazilian strains. They have a specific mutation that maybe people are getting reinfected more by this one and that one. Also, they say that the vaccine's effectiveness might not be as much. Be 1351 for those tracking the numbers. That's the South Africa strain of the one first identified in South Africa that has a mutation as called the E 4 84 K. They call it the EAC mutation, which seems to allow the virus to escape some of the antibody response, either. Through natural infection or from vaccines. And so the vaccine's still worked to some degree in May stop severe disease, But they may be less effective at stopping an infection and the one seen in Brazil, known as the P one that also has that same eek mutation. That mutation has been seen it only in a handful of the United Kingdom vary it and so everyone's watching that closely. It's important. Understand that, you know, we think we know what the map is. Right now, where the variance are and what we're dealing with. But the virus is constantly mutating. It's this is a moving target. So you know, I don't think there's anything to panic about with these variants because the vaccines in general work and you can retool them, But I think it's all kind of sobering that This is gonna take longer to get through this pandemic because the virus is gonna find work arounds, and so we'll just have to stay on top of it. The concern now is for public health experts is the easing of restrictions. You know, when we're seeing it all over as the cases they're going down. I think it was Iowa. They lifted their states. Partial mask mandate. So the little things like this have experts worried. That these new variants could, you know, help some type of boom going again. I think people should still be cautious and assume if you're around strangers. If you're close to other people, you know that you need to wear a mask you need, you know, wash your hands and Try to stay socially distance. I realized that there are people who can't do that, because they work in a hospital or their essential workers there at the grocery stores that you know the drugstores, some people, they can't be totally protected against possible infection. The new B 117 this UK variant It looks like it could be 35 to 45% more transmissible, but it's not gonna fall out of the sky. It's not lurking in the bushes. You know it is this. This is common sense measures to protect yourself. Ideally and try to limit the amount of new infections. That's that's. What we really need to do is a country is toe put the clamp down on this thing and also cut off the viruses. Opportunities to mutate further. Joel Achenbach, science reporter at the Washington Post. Thank you very much for joining us, but thank you for having me. I appreciate it..