With the rollout of multiple COVID-19 vaccines happening quickly across the country and the world, it may seem like very soon we can put the COVID-19 nightmare behind us. Still, during this time where people are eager to get out and start living “normally” once again, it’s important to not let your guard down, given the surge in sudden COVID-19 variations, also known as mutations. We’ll tell you what you should know about COVID-19 variants and what to expect.
Why you shouldn’t panic
A variant, variation, or mutation of COVID-19 can sound really scary, especially because, if not handled properly, it can mean repeating all of 2020 and some of 2021 all over again, right after we’ve gotten it under control for the first time. A strain of COVID-19 that is different from what is being vaccinated against is much like the ever-changing strain of the flu – vaccines may help against it, but likely won’t safeguard the public entirely.
All of this sounds incredibly worrying, but we shouldn’t panic just yet. Since we’ve learned so much throughout 2020 about COVID-19, we know how to battle a variation through a mix of hygiene changes, social distancing, quarantining, and other preventative measures. We also have a working vaccine against the novel coronavirus, so we know what is working already. We have manufacturing facilities in place, and a distribution system that works to get things out quickly to the public. We’re set up to battle a variant, if it takes off.
What you should know
When it comes to variations, the CDC has listed two types: VOI and VOC. Variant of interest (VOI), is less of a concern as, you guessed it, variant of concern (VOC). There are currently five variations of concern of the COVID-19 virus that have been under watch in the United States. Details about those variations and where they were located can be found at the CDC website. Current vaccines do seem to curtail and offer some protection against these variations for now.
Variations may have the ability to spread faster, and may be more infectious than its predecessor. On top of that, a variation may be able to re-infect someone who previously had COVID-19. Medical agencies around the world are closely monitoring variations and their effects on the body as well as the efficiency of current vaccination routes against those variations.
What you should do
The best thing to do to combat the potential spread of a rogue variant of COVID-19 is to keep doing what we have been doing for all of 2020 and 2021 so far. That means keeping up with your scheduled facility cleaning, your disinfection routine, your proper handwashing techniques, using masks when out in public and around others, and observing proper social distancing techniques of staying 6 feet or more apart from people not from your household. Keeping employees on a work-from-home basis, if possible, will help you reduce the potential spread of a variation until we know whether these variations will be an issue or not. Keeping up with our now well-known routines until we can finalize vaccinations to the public will be important. Just hang in there a little longer!
Stay safe out there. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and keep your distance from strangers!