As Texas Opens, UK COVID Variant Spreading Like Crazy in Houston
Did we open Texas too early? Even before Governor Greg Abbott made the announcement, the consensus among the scientific community is that it was too soon to open. The finish line is close, but we aren't done yet. Despite these warnings, Abbott opened up Texas and now it looks like we might have an even steeper uphill battle than we previously thought.
We've known that there are variants of COVID-19 for a few months now. One of the variants that is more deadly than others is the UK variant. A researcher at Exeter University, Robert Challen said of the UK variant (which is also called B.1.1.7):
Coupled with its ability to spread rapidly, this makes B.1.1.7 a threat that should be taken seriously.
How do they know that it's the UK variant that is running rampant in Houston? Wastewater, also known as sewage. We heard about this pretty early on the COVID pandemic. We could track the virus and different variants in the sewage because our waste (or poo) has markers for the virus in it if we have it.
Chief Medical Officer for the City of Houston, Dr. David Persse said:
The prevalence of the U.K. variant in our wastewater shows it's actively spreading in our city. This is another clear indication that we must continue to mask up, practice social distancing, wash our hands, get tested and, get vaccinated when possible.
Even with vaccines seemingly being rolled out at a faster tempo, now is not the time ignore the protocols that we've been dealing with for a year. Just show a bit more patience and we'll get through this the best we can. Choose to go out, not wear a mask, and ignore social distancing, we could screw this whole thing up.
LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.