The South African COVID Variant Has Been Found in This State
As expected, COVID-19 has mutated, and multiple variants have been identified around the world, including one originating in England, another in Brazil, and one in South Africa. While health experts are keeping an eye on all of them, there is one in particular that has been the most concerning, as it could be resistant to the current vaccines. Now, for the first time, the specific variant from South America—B.1.351 —has been identified in the United States. Read on to find out where—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
The New, More Transmissible Variant is in South Carolina
According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, two adults from different parts of the state have tested positive for the variant and "there is no known travel history and no connection between these two cases."
"The arrival of the SARS-CoV-2 variant in our state is an important reminder to all South Carolinians that the fight against this deadly virus is far from over," said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Public Health Director. "While more COVID-19 vaccines are on the way, supplies are still limited. Every one of us must recommit to the fight by recognizing that we are all on the front lines now. We are all in this together."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged the cases and it "recommends that people avoid travel at this time."
Health experts—including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases—have admitted that this specific variant might not be protected against by the vaccine. During an interview on Thursday with ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, he even admitted that it "troubles" him due to the fact it appears that the variants neutralizing antibodies induced by existing COVID-19 vaccines are "diminished by multifold."
"It's still within the range of what you would predict to be protective," he added, "but I take no great comfort in that."
Get Your Vaccine, Even if This Virus Mutates, Advise Experts
However, experts still strongly recommend getting the vaccine. "We know that viruses mutate to live and live to mutate," Dr. Traxler said. "That's why it's critical that we all continue to do our part by taking small actions that make a big difference. These include wearing our masks, staying at least six feet apart from others, avoiding large crowds, washing our hands, getting tested often, and when we can, getting vaccinated. These are the best tools for preventing the spread of the virus, no matter the strain."
So follow Fauci's fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, 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.