Health experts say new COVID-19 strain could already be in the U.S.

Coronavirus

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – There are new concerns about a new strain of coronavirus sweeping across the United Kingdom that’s already prompted lockdowns.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says a new variant of the coronavirus might already be here in the United States. Since the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China this isn’t the first time the virus has mutated.

“Unfortunately, I can’t think of a good reason it won’t get here,” Coastal Health District Health Director, Dr. Lawton Davis said.

Davis tells News 3 that this new strain can easily spread as Americans flock to airports this holiday season. Health officials are asking you to remain vigilant.

“One of the great things about modern society is that you’re a plane flight away from anywhere in the world, but that’s also one of the problems with dealing with infectious illnesses,” Davis said.

Health experts say this mutation can alter the spike on a spike protein and infect cells that can cause you to become sick.

“The mutations and the changes in its genetic makeup seem to make it easier to spread but not necessarily causing any more severe illness than the other,” Davis said.

Experts say for us to know if this variant is here in the U.S. it will take a special lab to do genetic testing. Not everyone will know if they’ve had it. The good news is experts say the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, which’s already being distributed, could fight against it.

“Even though the vaccine is here and we’re all optimistic we can kind of see that light down at the end of the tunnel. We are not at the end of the tunnel yet,” Davis said.

Scientists say they expect viruses to mutate but there is still much more to learn about this new strain. The CDC has launched a National Strain Surveillance program to monitor this situation. They expect to have each state send at least 10 samples biweekly for further testing by next month.

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