Just as you thought the pandemic might be over… BAM!
6 new COVID-19 variants emerge.
Unfortunately, mutations are common among all viruses.
In fact, the coronavirus already has thousands of variants–COVID-19 is just one of them.
While information is still emerging about the new strains, here’s what we know so far:
Of all the COVID-19 variants out there, the following 6 have been making headlines for one concerning reason: their extreme transmissibility.
D614G – The original variant
The original COVID variant, D614G, was discovered in China during January of 2020 and rapidly spread worldwide. The reason this variant is more of a problem than the original coronavirus strain is because of its increased transmissibility.
What makes it so contagious is the fact that it has 4 – 5 times more spikes than the initial strain, giving it more opportunity to latch onto your cells and infect them.
B.1.1.7 – The U.K. variant
B.1.1.7 was first discovered in London and has been hastily spreading around the Britain, Ireland, and Denmark areas since December of 2020. Many other countries, including the U.S., have begun to see cases as well.
This strain is said to be much more contagious than the original variant. So much so, in fact, that the CDC predicts it will become the dominant strain in the U.S. by next month.
B.1.351 – The South Africa variant
B.1.351, otherwise known as 501Y.V2, was first discovered in South Africa around 4 months ago. It was officially announced in December, when the country’s health minister noted that this strain appeared to be affecting more young people than prior strains.
This variant has made its way to at least two dozen more countries since it was first discovered, including the United States. It is similar to the U.K. variant in that it’s more contagious, however, there is no evidence to support that it’s more deadly than previous strains.
Although, Scott Gottlieb, former FDA director, warns that it may be more resistant to antibody therapies.
E484K – The Eeek mutation
Contrary to its namesake, the “eek” mutation is not much scarier than the other variants. It’s best described as a mutation within a mutation, and has been discovered on some COVID-19 variants since the start of the pandemic.
The biggest issue presented by this mutation is that it changes the spike protein of the virus. This is concerning because it may render the current vaccines ineffective when paired with other variants. Scientists are still testing this theory.
L452R – The Denmark variant
L452R, the Denmark COVID variant, has been around since the early stages of the pandemic in March. It’s been linked to many outbreaks in jails, nursing homes, and a hospital in San Jose, California.
It’s unclear whether this strain is more deadly or contagious than the original variant, and has been confirmed in over a dozen states across the U.S. Because its mutation occurs on the spike protein, scientists are unable to say for certain whether or not the vaccines will work on this strain just yet.
P.1 – The Brazil variant
Brazil’s variant, P.1, reared its ugly head just a few months after the Denmark variant popped up. It has now been discovered in several other countries, including Germany, Japan, Peru, South Korea, and the United States.
This variant alone has at least a dozen alterations, many of which can be found on the virus’s spike protein. Because of this, researchers believe this strain is also highly contagious, and that reinfection is possible.
Protecting yourself and others
It’s now more important than ever to maintain social distancing protocols, wash your hands, and mask up.
All of these safety measures were put in place to make it harder for the virus to mutate and spread. After all, viruses can’t mutate unless they replicate.
Medical-grade masks are critical to slowing the spread of these variants, however, they’re still being reserved for healthcare workers. That being said, the general public is being asked to stick with cloth face masks.
Health experts have been recommending making the switch to a better, thicker cloth mask to protect against these new strains.
If you’ve been in public at all recently, you may have noticed people wearing what appears to be two masks.
The concept of double-masking is fairly simple. Double masks = double the protection.
Dr. Fauci has even stated that doubling up on masks could help slow the spread of these new strains.
However, it is not necessary.
Your comfort and breathability is imperative to your safety.
Wearing two masks will undoubtedly make it very hard to breathe, causing you to pull your mask down in order to catch your breath and defeating the purpose altogether.
For now, 3-ply masks are your best means of protection.
A Virginia Tech study has shown that 3-ply masks can filter small particles just as well as an N95. This study was led by Linsey Marr, an airborne transmission expert, who states that these masks will be critical in slowing the spread of the new variants.
Get the same protection as double-masking by wearing a 3-ply mask. No more struggling to breathe, ear irritability, or looking ridiculous. At Quality Face Wear, our ultra-soft, adjustable cotton face masks can include a variety of add-ons, including: nose bridges, extra large sizes, individual bags, and a 3-ply upgrade. Order yours today!