Straight Talk About the New Variant COVID-19 Strain. As much as I regret saying it just when so many need & deserve a break, the new variant COVID-19 strain is a serious problem. It’s likely a matter of time before it arrives here & we need to beware & prepare. Here’s why. 1/
All viruses mutate resulting in new strains that vary from their ancestors. These are called variant strains. Most coronavirus mutations don’t fundamentally change how the virus behaves or affects us. 2/
However, at least one newly recognized strain, often called B.1.1.7., “SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01” or an "N501Y" strain, has been shown to have multiple mutations that are changing the way the virus behaves in important ways. 3/
This B.1.1.7. variant has been found in many countries, most notably the UK, & in several US states but not in Washington state yet, although it may very well be present at low levels & undetected. Once it hits a critical threshold, it will spread rapidly unless we slow it. 4/
Most important to know at the moment is that the new strain spreads more easily (that is, faster) than other strains - it’s more contagious. This means if exposed, your risk of becoming infected is higher with the variant strain than with the previous strains. 5/
And if infected with the variant strain, you are more likely to spread your COVID-19 to others. Each person infected with the variant strain spreads it to more people than they would have if infected with previous strains. 6/
Some good news: at this time, people infected with the variant strain don’t seem to have more severe illnesses than with previous strains. And it’s likely that vaccines will still be highly effective (although this needs to be monitored). 7/
However, faster spread leads to more people becoming infected in a shorter period of time, and that’s dangerous. A rapid increase in people with COVID-19 causes fast-growing outbreaks & more people infected means more requiring hospitalization & more people dying. 8/
This can increase suffering in our community & overload our healthcare system, further increasing the danger for bad outcomes from COVID-19 & from other serious medical problems if hospitals can’t provide their usual level of care. 9/
👉This is important: THE VARIANT STRAIN SPREADS THE SAME WAY as other COVID-19 strains, IT'S JUST BETTER AT IT. For this reason, WE NEED TO GET BETTER at the same effective ways of stopping the spread until enough of us are vaccinated. 10/
That means decreasing activities & the number & duration of contacts w/others outside the home (keep it brief), always wear face masks when around non-household members indoors, avoiding crowded/poorly ventilated indoor spaces, improving ventilation in homes & workplaces... 11/
...keeping 6 feet distance (or more when possible), & paying attention to environmental cleaning & hand washing. Consider looking onto germ-killing UV technology for buildings in addition to improving ventilation (see CDC site below). 12/
If you’re exposed to COVID-19, please quarantine & if ill, isolate. Please don’t go out - to work, socialize or elsewhere - if you’ve been exposed or have symptoms. Travel is risky – best to avoid it if you can but if you must, take precautions including quarantine & testing. 13/
Remember COVID-19 can spread from people that look & feel well. Don't let your guard down around friends or relatives just because they look healthy - they may not know they are infected but can unintentionally spread COVID-19. 14/
Ultimately, vaccination is our best defense but at this time it can’t be our only defense. When you are able, get vaccinated to protect yourself & others. Will update as more information about the variant strain is available. Some key resources follow. We can do it. 15/
CDC info on variant coronavirus.… 16/
CDC info on staying safe during travel.… 17/
CDC info in protecting yourself from COVID-19.… 18/
CDC info on improving ventilation and germ killing UV for buildings.… 19/
Interview with our own Trevor Bedford, world class computational biologist tracking COVID-19 strains.… 20/20

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Jeffrey Duchin, MD

Jeffrey Duchin, MD Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @DocJeffD

21 Dec 20
From a celestial perspective, the darkest days of the year are behind us & we can look forward to more sunlight each day. Let's do everything we can to put the darkest days of COVID-19 behind us as well. 1/n Image
What we do for the last few days of 2020 (good riddance!) will determine what 2021 holds in store. It’s especially important to double-down on CoV-19 prevention now, when the virus has the advantage as we spend more time indoors & environmental conditions favor transmission. 2/n
Our hospitals are strained. New variants of the virus have been identified in other countries that seem to spread more easily and may appear here as well. But the basic COVID-19 prevention steps are just effective against all COVID-19 viruses. 3/n
Read 14 tweets
9 Dec 20
FDA will review data for authorizing the 1st vaccine to prevent COVID-19 tomorrow. The vaccine is made with an exciting new technology, mRNA. I'm sharing some information from @CDCgov about mRNA vaccines & how we got here so quickly without compromising effectiveness & safety. 1/
What is mRNA? It's a "molecular blueprint" for a cell to make proteins. In this case, mRNA instructs our own cells where the vaccine is injected to make a protein found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Our immune system then develops a protective response against it. 2/
In contrast, most vaccines use weakened or inactivated versions or components of a virus or bacteria to stimulate the body’s immune response. Weakened live virus vaccines like MMR & varicella work by replicating in our cells using the vaccine virus' mRNA. 3/
Read 10 tweets
11 Nov 20
Significant update from CDC states mask use protects not only others but the wearer: "Masks also help reduce inhalation of these droplets by the wearer (“filtration for personal protection”)." 1/n

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)… via @CDCgov
"The community benefit of masking for SARS-CoV-2 control is due to the combination of these effects; individual prevention benefit increases with increasing numbers of people using masks consistently and correctly." 2/2
Masks should be well made & fit well (snug w/out gaps) "Multiple layers of cloth with higher thread counts have demonstrated superior performance compared to single layers of cloth with lower thread counts, in some cases filtering nearly 50% of fine particles less than 1 micron."
Read 4 tweets
11 Nov 20
I'm worried about the direction our COIVD-19 outbreak is heading and the increasing impact on the health of our community, our healthcare system and our economy. COVID-19 is a viral wildfire, and we are the fuel.…
The pandemic fatigue that we’re all experiencing is real. I’m certainly feeling it and I want this outbreak to end yesterday. I also understand that it’s hard to make sacrifices when things may seem OK in your own personal circles. 2/n
Everywhere we gather, especially indoors – at work or socially, in groups for any purpose – recreation, worship, dining, social event or party – poses a risk for spreading COVID-19 = stepped up precautions are needed. Let’s not throw more human logs on the fire. 3/n
Read 9 tweets
15 Jul 20
@CT_Bergstrom @CDCgov A few quick thoughts: In an ideal world, testing everyone at colleges & universities might make sense (depending whether the result lead to meaningful actions that decrease disease and if frequently enough...@DrTomFrieden 1/n
@CT_Bergstrom @CDCgov @DrTomFrieden 2/n...since one-time screening will miss both incubating and subsequent infections, and if testing capacity is adequate. In the real word, is screening millions of US college students possible currently? Do we rescreen after breaks?
@CT_Bergstrom @CDCgov @DrTomFrieden 3/n What level of community transmission makes this unlikely to provide significant benefit? Most communities across the US currently don't have enough testing capacity to meet ongoing community disease control needs.
Read 7 tweets
23 May 20
What can you do to keep COVID-19 cases as low as possible & stay healthy even if your community is "getting back to business?"
- Remember COVID-19 can spread BEFORE symptoms appear.
- Continue to avoid non-essential close contact with others to the extent possible.
- Maintain physical distance when out of the home & limit the size of gatherings.
- Understand that poorly-ventilated, enclosed spaces are higher risk than well-ventilated or outdoor spaces.
- Longer contact with others is higher risk than shorter contact, even when distancing is possible.
- Contact with more people is higher risk than with few people.
- Avoid contact with ill people.
- Wear a cloth mask or face covering in public.
Read 5 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!