An Unexpected Variant to Add to the Equation of COVID-19


Daphne Renoux

COVID-19 has already infected millions globally and the new, more contagious, variants are now spreading around the world as well.

Daphne Renoux, Staff Writer

A new variant of the COVID-19 virus has now been discovered in England. In November 2020, the United Kingdom also experienced a surge in the number of Coronavirus cases which led to a new lockdown being imposed by the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. To further the problem, two other variations of the Coronavirus have also been identified in Nigeria and South Africa.

In November 2020, there was a surge in COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom similar to that of the United States. This trend has been showing no signs of significantly decreasing. Shortly after, the new strand of the coronavirus was discovered.

I think that if everyone complies with the regulations in the U.K. and follows the lockdown orders, the spread of this new variant and be minimized and hopefully prevent it from becoming a much larger issue. 

— sophomore Isabella Morales

The variant was proven to be 50 percent to 70 percent more contagious than the first COVID-19 that appeared in late 2019 to early 2020. The new strand has also started to infect Americans as it moved into the U.S. on Dec. 28, 2020. The first cases were seen in Colorado, and others were later reported in California and Florida as well.

“Because the new variant has already been spotted in the U.S., I think it is important that people realize the higher risk of being around others and make sure they take the precautionary needs to ensure that they remain safe,” sophomore Isabella Morales said.

Dec 29, 2020 hit the UK hard with a record-setting number of new cases of COVID-19 in one day: 53,135. As a result, the new lockdown, which started on Jan. 6, 2021, was announced to keep “this new variant under control while our vaccines are being rolled out,” as stated by Johnson, on Jan. 5, 2021.

This strain of the virus is “estimated to represent about one percent of all infections at this moment,” dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, Dr. Ashish Jha, said on Tuesday. So far, the new strand has proven to be more contagious and therefore the number of positive cases is expected to rise over the following weeks. At the moment, no order for a national lockdown has been issued as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow.

In Florida, one man from Martin County with no history of travel tested positive for the new COVID-19 variation. This follows a pattern seen in the U.S. as two other men who tested positive for the new strand had no history of international traveling in recent weeks.

“I think we should enforce more serious regulations toward Covid-19, it is important to keep an eye out for the new variant,” freshman Steffi Sarmiento-Mena said.

In South Africa, a variant independent from the one found in England was identified in early October 2020. This variant has, too, been seen out of South Africa and seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Protection. Meanwhile in Nigeria, another new variant has emerged, but there is little to no information on it so far.

The Coronavirus has infected more than 88 million people around the world after a little more than a year of its presence. With a significant amount of people getting vaccinated — 21.9 percent of the European Union, 13.9 percent of the U.S., 20.7 percent of India and 4.7 percent of Indonesia — there is hope that the pandemic will slow down. However, the new strands of COVID-19 found in France, the U.K., the U.S., Nigeria and South Africa are expected to alter predictions.

England is back in a third national lockdown and other European countries are slowly following the same path. Will this new strand further the fight against the Coronavirus or complicate things for countries around the world? So far, there is little information on this topic and scientists are working hard to learn more and prevent a repeat of 2020.