'Explosive new strain' of Covid makes everyday activities like grocery shopping more dangerous, experts say

THE explosive new strains of Covid are making everyday activities like grocery shopping more dangerous, health experts say.

Officials in Minnesota announced yesterdays that they had detected the P.1 variant of the virus in a traveller from Brazil.

The variant is one of four being closely watched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and appears to be more easily transmissible.

CDC officials have also said another variant, called B.1.1.7 which was first spotted in the UK, has been detected in more than 20 states.

Emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen gave her view on the new Covid variants while speaking to CNN's Anderson Cooper.

She said: "We've seen what happens in other countries that have actually had coronavirus under relatively good control, then these variants took over and they had explosive spread of the virus, and then overwhelmed hospitals.

Cases in the US seem to be on the downturn with 42 states reporting decreasing numbers, but Dr Wen warned that this could change if the new variants take hold.

To be prevent this happening, she said US citizens will have to take "extra vigilance," which could mean taking less trips to places like the grocery store.

She added: "If there is something more contagious among us, if we thought that going to the grocery store before was relatively safe, there's actually a higher likelihood of contracting coronavirus through those every day activities.

"Wearing an even better mask, reducing the number of times that we have to go out shopping, or in indoor crowded settings, all of that will be helpful."

Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday that he believes that wearing two masks will be effective is stopping the spread of the virus.

He said: "If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective."

Dr. Fauci said it's likely there'll be more evolution of mutants but vaccines should be effective against them.

He said: "The sobering news is as you get more and more replication, you can get more and more of evolution of mutants, which means you always got to be a step ahead of it."

Dr Fauci also expressed his concern that the UK variant could be more deadly.

He said: "The data has not come out officially but taking a look at the preliminary data that the UK scientists have analyzed.

"I'm pretty convinced that there is a degree of increase in the seriousness of the actual infection which we really have to keep an eye on."

But Moderna eased concerns by saying its jabs would still protect people from the Covid variants that have emerged.

Despite this, Moderna president Dr. Stephen Hoge warned people that battle against the virus will be "ongoing for the next couple of years."

During a panel yesterday he said: "Until we've got this thing sort of fully suppressed and in control, and people are broadly vaccinated or seropositive and protected against it, it's going to be an ongoing battle for the next couple of years."

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is currently being tested in South Africa, the US and Brazil, and those results could provide insight into how well it works against emerging variants, according to its developers.

Harvard Medical School professor, Dr, Dab Barouch said: "If we see the efficacy results, it'll give us insights not only into whether or not this vaccine candidate is effective, but it'll also give us insights into whether or not the variants that are circulating in South Africa might be a problem for vaccines, he told CNN.

So far, nearly 20 million US citizens have received at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data.

A White House official said the administration's official goal remains getting 100 million shots administered in the President Joe Biden's first 100 days in office.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden was trying to get as many Americans vaccinated as possible.

She said: "He is continuing to push our team to get as many Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible."

Despite Biden's aspirations, many states are still awaiting vaccine supplies.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday the city has "almost no supply" of vaccines to create new appointments.

The city has 7,710 doses on hand, and 72,409 second doses yet to be scheduled. NYC has administered over 650,000 doses.

De Blasio added: "Right now I need hundreds of thousands of more doses per week."

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