A COVID-19 variant that originated in the United Kingdom is surging, complicating the vaccination effort and adding yet another layer to the pandemic. The rapid spread of this variant has spurred British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to order a new countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. Johnson recently appeared on TV to make it clear the coming weeks would serve as a vitally important moment in the nation’s battle against the virus.
The Battle Against the COVID-19 Variant
The British government’s new measures to beat the variant of the coronavirus include the closure of schools across the country. In fact, all personal care services such as barbershops are to be closed. In-person dining is now banned. Those who leave home without a legitimate excuse will be fined. However, people are still allowed to leave home to purchase medical supplies or food. It is also permissible to leave home to transport kids to and from childcare centers.
The British government has even gone as far as asking residents to minimize outdoor exercise to a single instance per day. The country’s residents are permitted to meet with another individual from a separate household strictly for exercise while social distancing is maintained.
Though the measures detailed above are inconvenient, they are necessary to slow the spread of the virus including its new variant. The logic in going to the extent of closing schools throughout the nation is that these spaces are likely to serve as transmission vectors that result in the virus being spread to multiple households.
A Closer Look at the Variant
The variant of the virus was identified in the final weeks of 2020 in the southeastern part of England. This variant is responsible for spiking the transmission of the virus. In fact, in excess of 50,000 new COVID-19 cases are being recorded every single day. This uptick in cases has burdened hospitals with a seemingly endless parade of patients. The rapid spread of the virus is the result of the variant being upwards of 70% more transmissible than the original strain.
It is quite alarming to note two-thirds of Britons were under the tightest possible Tier 4 restrictions prior to the announcement pertaining to the latest variant. The hope is that these new measures will slow the spread of this potent variant throughout Great Britain and prevent it from crossing international borders and wreaking havoc in other countries. However, this variant has already been detected in Colorado, New York and California.
The Spread of the Variant
The new coronavirus variant spreads with ease. This is a mutated version of the original virus that is highly contagious. In fact, the variant has spread to more than a dozen nations. It took less than 100 days for this new variant to become the predominant form of COVID-19 in Britain. As a result, the country’s hospitals are now on the brink of running out of beds.
The best way to prevent the spread of this COVID-19 variant is to keep people out of public spaces and away from one another as much as possible. It will also help if people wash their hands, wear masks, and social distance themselves. Though scientists are unsure as to what is causing the virus to prove more transmissible, there are signs it infects cells within the human body at a heightened efficiency. The silver lining to this variant as well as others that have emerged is we have control over their spread. If people religiously adhere to the protocols put in place to prevent coronavirus transmission, we will eventually defeat the virus.