Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that the new mutation of the COVID-19 virus could possibly be spreading at a much faster pace than before in an interview with The Journal of the American Medical Association.
As of July 6, the U.S. has seen a total of 2,910,023 confirmed COVID-19 cases and has suffered 130,080 deaths. The U.S. continues to have the highest cases and deaths globally.
Will this new mutation push our country to hit new record breaking numbers?
Sheffield COVID-19 Genomics Group released a study on the new strain and said it “has become the most prevalent form in the global pandemic.”
“The shift occurred even in local epidemics where the original strain of the virus D614 form was well established prior to the introduction of the G614 variant,” researchers wrote, referring to the strain of coronavirus thought to have originated in Wuhan, China.
“The consistency of this pattern was highly statistically significant, suggesting that the G614 variant may have a fitness advantage,” they continued.
Quicker to spread
Fauci said it is possible this strain carries a higher viral load in the respiratory system, thereby making human transmission more likely.
“The data is showing there’s a single mutation that makes the virus be able to replicate better and maybe have high viral loads,” Dr. Fauci said. “It just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible,” he continued.
Severity remains the same
However, the researchers found no evidence that the new strain of COVID was more severe than the previous. “In infected individuals G614 is associated with lower RT-PCR cycle thresholds, suggestive of higher upper respiratory tract viral loads, although not with increased disease severity,” they wrote.
Fauci seemingly nodded to the notion to The Journal of the American Medical Association: “We don’t have a connection to whether an individual does worse with this or not.”
This new mutation of COVID-19 is a perfect example of how this pandemic might be far from over. The CDC continues to advise people to wear masks in public, practice social distancing, and wash their hands. Forcing these habits is your best chance of not contracting the quickly-mutating virus. Act responsibly and be safe.