Hospitalizations for Kovid-19 in the United States are falling after reaching record levels this month – a welcome sign that winter growth may finally stop. But as new, potentially more infectious changes of the virus are transmitted, coronavirus modelers warn that America is not yet out of the wilderness.
The emergence of new variants is not entirely surprising, but experts say that without a better understanding of how these strains move and affect the effectiveness of existing vaccines, it is difficult to know how an epidemic might play out.
“There’s a lot in the air, and the new variants have thrown a giant monkey wrench into the ability to model things,” said Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases. Jean Margeries said. In Birmingham. “All those things make the crystal ball very cloudy.”
Although the number of hospitalizations and new infections in the US has declined compared to the previous seven days, Kovid-19 deaths are still increasing. The country saw 400,000 deaths this week, and on Wednesday it set a daily record, killing 4,131 people, according to one NBC News.
It has been estimated that coronovirus has undergone thousands of mutations since it was detected in humans. Many became incompatible, but scientists are concerned about any changes that could make the virus more contagious or make available vaccines less effective.
UK evidence has shown that such a variant known as B.1.1.7 spreads more easily from person to person, although it does not make people sick and appears to be susceptible to vaccines . A report released last week by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the UK variant could become a major strain in the US by March.
New variants have also been reported in South Africa, Brazil and the US to characterize the changes. Preliminary laboratory experiments suggest that vaccines made by Pfizer and BioNtech and Moderna may be less effective than the variants identified in South Africa, but the research was not conducted in humans, and the findings have not yet been reviewed is.
As the variant emerges, it will be important to follow measures to slow the spread of the virus and choose the speed of vaccination to keep all those data from spiking, Coronovirus Modeler Alessandro Vespigny, Director of the Network Science Institute of Northeastern University he said.
This is because a more infectious version is likely to result in more cases, which adds even more stress to health care systems that are already overlapping.
“Vespigny said,” This is a race against the rise of new strains that are more contagious. “” If we roll out the vaccine fast and keep epidemic levels low, it will also slow down variants and give us more time. “
The distribution of vaccines has been problematic, with some states outstripping their supplies, while others have struggled to administer all the doses they were receiving.
There are further concerns that the US is not doing enough to track genetic changes to the virus by genetic code sequencing. Not knowing specifically which variants exist in the country makes it harder to protect those at risk, says Ali Mocked, a former CDC official who is a professor of global health at the University of Washington. It is more challenging for modelers to project how an epidemic might unfold.
“We don’t stay on top if we’re walking around, we might have a desi version that’s more contagious than we’ve seen in the UK, and we wouldn’t know,” he said.
Mokkad is part of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which developed one of the most widely cited coronavirus models. Its current launch suggests that while the number of new infections is decreasing in the US, Kovid-19’s death is not expected to peak until early March.
Still, Mokkad said, there are ways the US can avoid additional increases in hospitalizations and deaths, even with the emergence of new variants.
“We have to do what we know is effective – social disturbances and wearing masks,” he said. “We can’t celebrate ahead of time, because if everyone believes that the worst is behind us, only then will we see the peaks again.”
However, the model predicts that deaths will continue to increase for several more weeks, if people are cautious it is possible to reduce the curve.
“Not every forecast is a deterministic result,” he said. “We can do something to change the trajectory.”