Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The good news is that the new mutant HS69 / V70 Covid-19 strain doesn't appear to be any more lethal and the vaccine is expected to be effective against the new variant. But it seems easier to pass – the new virus is spreading despite Britain's efforts to impose a strict lockdown.
The new strain appears to be quickly dominating other strains in the UK in terms of prevalence.
The CDC does not currently recommend travel restrictions, but recommends extreme caution when traveling to the UK. Fauci advises everyone not to overreact.
The following is an interview with Matt Hancock, UK Minister of Health;
The diagram below was provided by Tony Cox, CEO of the NIHR National Biosample Center and the Milton Keynes Coronavirus Testing Mega-Lab "Lighthouse" and shows the new variant Covid-19 (orange) that other strains are fasting in terms of prevalence in the UK displaces population.
MK LHL test data show an increasing prevalence of the H69 / V70 variant in positive test data – which, incidentally, is proven by the frequently used 3-gene PCR test. pic.twitter.com/1U0pVR9Bhs
– Tony Cox (@The_Soup_Dragon) December 19, 2020
The following has just been posted on the UK government health website.
COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2): Information on the new virus variant
The new variant is more easily transmitted than the previous one, but there is no evidence that it is more likely to cause serious illness or death.
Published on December 20, 2020
From: Public Health England
Data from sequencing, epidemiology and modeling of the entire genome suggest that the new variant "VUI – 202012/01" (the first variant examined in December 2020) can be transferred more easily than other variants.
We currently have no evidence that the variant is more likely to cause serious illness or mortality – but we're continuing research to better understand this.
The way to control this virus is the same regardless of the variant. It won't spread if we avoid close contact with others. Wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance from others, and reduce your social contacts.
Is there any evidence that the variant is more serious?
We don't currently have any evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or higher mortality – but we continue to study cases to better understand this. We know mortality is a lagging indicator and we need to monitor this continuously over the coming weeks.
Why is this more transferable?
We know that mutations in the spike protein, the part of the virus that makes it infectious, can change the way the virus interacts with human cells. However, we do not yet know the mechanism for this increase in transmission.
The evidence shows that infection rates have increased faster than expected in geographic areas where this particular variant was in circulation, and the modeling evidence has shown that this variant has a higher transmission rate than other variants in current circulation.
How long has this variant been around?
All viruses mutate over time and new variants are regularly created.
Traceability based on genetic evidence suggests that this variant emerged in September 2020 and then was spread in very small amounts in the population by mid-November.
The increase in cases related to the new variant first became known in late November when PHE investigated why infection rates in Kent did not fall despite national restrictions. We then discovered a cluster associated with this variant that is spreading rapidly in London and Essex.
On December 18, NERVTAG and the ministers were provided with evidence of increased transferability.
Is this variant resistant to the Pfizer vaccine?
There is currently no evidence that the Pfizer vaccine would not protect people from the new variant.
More laboratory work is currently being done in priority to understand this.
How widespread is the variant geographically?
144 The local lower-level authorities genomically identified at least one case, although the vast majority of the identified cases are in London, the southeast and east of England.
Can tests identify this new variant?
Instructions have been given to the laboratories to adapt processes to ensure that PCR tests can detect this variant.
PCR tests can be quickly adapted to respond to the new variant.
So far there are no US plans to impose travel restrictions in the UK.
… In an interview with CNN on Monday, Fauci, who is also a member of the Coronavirus Task Force of the White House, said that the United States "should no doubt keep an eye on the new strain," but "we don't want to overreact. "…
Read more: https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/12/21/anthony-fauci-doesnt-want-to-restrict-u-k-flights-dont-overreact-to-mutated-coronavirus-strain/
The new strain doesn't seem any more deadly – so we're still just talking about it a low risk of mortality for most people.
But the ease with which the new strain appears to be transferable, and its apparent ability to defeat very tight locks in the UK, make it much more difficult to justify hard locks in my opinion.
The new strain can significantly increase the risk of exposure for the elderly and the frail and therefore appears to increase the urgency of introducing vaccines for vulnerable people.