The first case of South Africa’s most contagious variant of the coronavirus has been discovered in Massachusetts, health officials said on Tuesday.
The woman in her 20s, who was found to have the variant of the virus, B.1.351, lives in Middlesex County and reported no travel, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Coronavirus researchers at the Broad Institute working with state health officials confirmed that the variant was present in Massachusetts through genetic sequences, according to the Department of Public Health.
The announcement did not indicate where the woman is believed to have been infected.
“The best protection against a rapid increase in cases from disturbing variants is to prevent the spread of COVID,” the Department of Public Health said in a statement.
Dr. Sabrina Assoumou, an infectious disease doctor at Boston Medical Center, says the best thing people can do to protect themselves from all odds is to continue to follow safety measures such as social distancing, wearing masks. and getting the vaccine when it is available to you.
“As for the South African variant, the good news is that the vaccines we have authorized in the US also work, but they do not work so well, so this actually underscores the importance of following public health measures and vaccination as soon as possible, “she said.
While coronavirus cases are declining across the country, there are new concerns about the so-called UK coronavirus variant. The highly contagious type of virus is spreading mainly from person to person in Massachusetts, not from international travel.
This variant, first discovered in South Africa, is known to travel rapidly among humans and is one of the variants monitored in the state and throughout the US
Massachusetts has 34 known cases of variant B.1.1.7, first discovered in the UK and no cases of variant P.1 first found in Brazil, state health officials said on Tuesday.
“These variants seem to spread more easily and faster than other variants, which could lead to more COVID-19 cases. An increase in the number of cases will bring more strain on healthcare resources, will lead to more hospitalizations and potentially more deaths., “United States It is said on the site of the coronavirus variants of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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The South African variant was first identified in the US last month after it was discovered in South Africa in October, according to the CDC.
The vaccines that are now spreading in Massachusetts are thought to be effective in preventing serious illnesses from infections caused by variants. But officials have warned that increased transmission of the new variants could trigger another wave of COVID-19 infections here – the UK variant prompted new blocking measures there.
“I hope that in the coming weeks and months we will have as many vaccines as possible, because the variant is here,” he told Dr. Jon Santiago, a state representative and physician at Boston Medical Center, NBC10 Boston last week
Health officials are issuing new guidelines for a safe reopening, but many teachers say they are very concerned about what lies ahead.
The CDC warned last week that the spread of more contagious variants may force it to review its guidelines on how to reopen schools.
“If we get to a point where we are beyond the red zone here, really high levels of community spread in terms of variants or related to broadcasting more, we may need to review this again,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who was previously Chief of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital.
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