England’s chief medical officer on Saturday announced that the U.K. It has found a new variant of the coronavirus that can “spread more quickly” than previous strains of the virus.
To date, a growing body of evidence suggests that the new species has “a significant, dramatic increase in portability,” says Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer in England.
‘Spreads More Quicky’
There is currently “no evidence” to suggest that it causes more serious illnesses, more hospitalizations or affecting coronavirus treatment and vaccines, he said.
England’s chief medical officer on Saturday announced that the UK had discovered a new variant of the coronavirus that could “spread more quickly” than previous strains of the virus, which led Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose new restrictions on parts of the nation to control its spread.
“We learn about it as we go along, but we already know enough, more than enough, to make sure we have to take action now,” Johnson said during a press conference on Saturday where he set new limits in London and other parts of England ahead of the Christmas holiday.
“If a virus changes its immune system, we need to change our immune system,” Johnson said.
COVID Cases In The UK
The UK government announced a new strain of coronavirus on Monday following an increase in cases in the southern and eastern parts of England. More than 1,100 Covid-19 cases with new variations have been identified as Sunday, according to a statement from Public Health England.
Now, it is thought that the new species may reach 70% more than the original disease, Johnson said Saturday, adding that it appears to be fueling the rapid spread of the disease. Johnson urged residents to stop traveling and “stay in the area” to prevent new forms of travel in the country and abroad.
The United Kingdom reports 24,061 new Covid-19 cases daily, according to the weekly average, which is more than 40% compared to last week, according to a CNBC data analysis compiled by John Hopkins University.
“This is the first data, and it can be updated, but it’s the best we have right now and we have to use the information as we have it because this is now spreading very fast,” Johnson said.
What Are The Experts Saying?
Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said in a press conference that “viruses mutate all the time..” The flu season changes every year, and there are already new strains of coronavirus identified in countries like Spain, according to Public Health England.
What needs to be answered is whether the new strain is highly contagious, makes people sick and alters the immune system’s response to the virus once it has been infected or vaccinated, Whitty said.
To date, a body of evidence from genetic, frequency, and laboratory studies shows that the new species has “significant growth, more prolonged exposure,” Whitty said. However, there is no evidence so far to suggest that the new species causes a higher mortality rate.
Health officials believe the new alternatives first appeared in mid-September in London or Kent, and by mid-November it is thought to have created about 28% of cases in London and other parts of southeast England, Whitty said.
Now those numbers are much higher, he said. In London, data last week suggested that the new variant had more than 60% new cases, Whitty said.
“So what it tells us is that this new species not only moves faster, it rises in its transfer capacity, but it becomes a remarkable diversity. It beats everyone else about transfers, ”he said.
However, there is no “evidence” that it causes more serious illness, more hospitalization or “more serious problems than any other virus,” Whitty said. While there are reasons to suspect that new mutations could alter the immune response to the disease, there is no indication that this is the case so far, he said.
“Our assumption is to work now, from all scientists, that the drug response should be adequate for this virus,” he said. “That obviously needs to be looked at further, and we need to be aware of this.”
The UK has notified the World Health Organization and will continue to analyze the data on this new model.