COVID-19 variant: As variant emerges in Harris County, doctors say virus needs to be controlled


HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – There is a new warning about the importance of COVID-19 safety precautions as a new, more contagious variant has been confirmed in Harris County.

Harris County Public Health announced the discovery of variant B of COVID-19 on Thursday. 1.1.7. It is the same variant discovered in the United Kingdom and the first known case in the state of Texas.

“The variant has the potential to throw jet fuel into an already dangerous situation,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “Please don’t overlook this.”

The patient is a male between 30 and 40 years old and resides in southwest Harris County. Authorities say he is isolated and his contacts have been traced. Officials also said he had no recent travel history.

READ MORE: 1st case of more contagious variant of COVID-19 found in Harris County

“The fact that this person, who had the variant, does not have a travel history indicates that he or she is present here in the community,” said Dr Luis Ostrosky, professor of infectious diseases at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

Ostrosky said there were other variants in circulation since last spring. This one attracts attention because it’s more contagious, but it’s also not worse, according to Dr. Wesley Long.

Long is a clinical pathologist and medical director of diagnostic microbiology at Houston Methodist.

“The important thing for people to know, although it is more contagious, the disease is not more serious,” Long explained. “The results in patients are not worse and there is nothing particularly different we need to do to stop its spread. If we wear masks, keep people away, avoid large gatherings, do these things, we can stop the spread of this virus. in its tracks, whatever the changes. “

Plus, time is running out, Ostrosky adds.

Although the current COVID-19 vaccine is believed to work on the variant, he said the virus should be prevented from continuing to mutate.

“If we leave the situation unchecked, we will end up in a situation like the flu where we will probably need a new vaccine every year to cover the strain that year,” he said. “It’s almost a historic opportunity right now. If we get the virus under control then it won’t be a problem, but if we keep doing the things that we are doing, we can end up in this situation.”

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