What we know about the new COVID-19 strain

Updated: Jan. 3, 2021 at 10:50 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama is making national headlines for COVID-19 cases.

And health officials are anticipating the numbers to continue to grow in the next several weeks, due to the holidays.

But could a new strain of COVID-19 add to the pressure?

California, Florida and Colorado have all confirmed cases of a new strain of COVID-19.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health tells us she wouldn’t be surprised if that strain is here in Alabama now.

“When we look at this we know that viruses can mutate. And this particular virus has more mutations than some of the other viruses, the other strains that have been seen,” Dr. Landers said.

Dr. Landers says she was on a call with the CDC about this new COVID strain a few days ago.

“This strain has likely already been in the United States for awhile, we’re not sequencing every COVID-19 virus cases.

The concern is more the infectivity at this point and we need more information on that and that’s why the science is more important,” she said.

So what’s the take away right now, Dr. Landers says the new strain of the virus doesn’t appear to be more deadly.

But it could spread more quickly.

“If you infect more people when you certainly don’t know how those individuals will react. And certainly the more people that are infected, some people might be more vulnerable, have an underlying health condition, or just the individual patient may respond differently,” she explained.

Dr. Landers says health officials have been given no evidence that the current vaccines won’t work against this new strain.

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