Covid variants could ‘undermine all of our efforts’ – tech2.org

Covid variants could ‘undermine all of our efforts’


Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chip Somodevilla | fake images

The highly communicable new variants of Covid-19 “may reverse” national control of the pandemic and could “undermine all of our efforts” against the disease if the virus is allowed to proliferate in different parts of the world, the US director said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

Senior US health officials have warned in recent weeks that the emergence of highly contagious variants, particularly the B.1.1.7 strain that emerged in the UK, could reverse the current downward trajectory of infections in the US. And delay the country’s recovery from the pandemic. .

The problem is not limited to the United States. As the coronavirus spreads, it makes a large number of copies of itself, and each version is slightly different from the last, experts say. As more people become infected, the more likely it is that troublesome mutations will emerge.

“Even if he was not necessarily inclined to want to be part of the global health effort, we must do so because all the efforts that we are making, that we are advancing here in this nation, could potentially be undermined in a heartbeat from these emerging variants,” he said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told the National Academy of Medicine and the American Public Health Association on Wednesday.

Scientists are not surprised by the emergence of the variants and have reiterated that currently available vaccines should work against them, although they may not be as effective as they are against the original “wild” strain.

Moderna said Wednesday that it sent doses of a booster injection that specifically targets the variant that spreads in South Africa, known as the B.1.351 strain, to the National Institutes of Health.

“We know that this virus knows no geographic borders and addressing this reality is more urgent than ever, given the rapid proliferation of Covid-19 variants that can reverse the progress that has been made to control this pandemic,” Walensky said.

The US reports a weekly average of approximately 71,562 new Covid-19 cases per day, a decrease of 12% compared to a week ago and a significant drop since the average number of new cases in the US reached its peak. peak at about 250,000 cases per day in early January. , according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

While not all countries report similar declines, global Covid-19 cases in the U.S. have declined for six consecutive weeks through Sunday, according to the latest World Health Organization situation report released Tuesday.

The decline is good news as countries rush to administer their initial doses of Covid-19 vaccines. While some nations have been administering vaccines since December, however, some are just beginning to receive their initial vaccinations.

The first shipment of vaccines delivered through the World Health Organization’s COVAX program arrived in Ghana on Wednesday. Some experts have previously said that equitable distribution of vaccines may be too late, as richer nations have made their own deals with vaccine manufacturers, reclaiming their initial supply of doses.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of how interconnected we are as a global community,” Walensky said.

– CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Natasha Turak contributed to this report.

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