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Masks are still king in combating new COVID strains – Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington 2021-02-23 15:00:00 –

New variants of the coronavirus are circulating in King County, but health experts say that the same measures that have so far proven to be effective in stopping the virus should continue to provide protection. Stated.

The pandemic took root in the United States in February 2020 at the Carklands Life Care Center. Since then, the pandemic has killed nearly 500,000 people and nearly 28 million people nationwide. Several variants of the virus have emerged, often named after the country that first noticed it.

One variant found in the United Kingdom is expected to become the predominant strain in King County by March, according to Dr. Sescohen, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at the University of Washington Medical Center. This strain is believed to spread more easily and quickly than other mutant strains.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that it may increase the risk of death compared to other variants of the virus, but more research is needed to confirm this. It was first detected in the United States in December and in King County in January.

There are two other major variants. One was first detected in South Africa and the other in Brazil. Both of these variants were also detected in the United States in January, according to the CDC.

This means that the virus is mutated. The virus can mutate and reduce the effectiveness of currently being developed vaccines, but the CDC states that the vaccines currently appear to be functioning. However, there is evidence that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may have reduced efficacy against South African variants, the Washington Post wrote on February 18.

That’s bad news, but the result is that the same precautions and safety measures that were effective against the original strain of COVID-19 provide protection against the new strain. These include physical distance, wearing a mask, practicing good hygiene, and proper ventilation of the enclosed space.

“A big variable in my mind that allows rates to start rising again is whether people change their social behavior and really start to brake in terms of masking and distance,” he says. I did.

The idea of ​​double masking became more common after President Joe Biden took office in January and several members of the Cabinet and Parliament were seen in two masks. Cohen said he was happy to discuss how many masks people should wear, not whether they should.

He pointed out the CDC’s recommendation that people should wear at least a few layers of thickness in the mouth and nose, properly sealed to prevent air leaks around the sides. .. It can be filled with one or two high quality masks. The most important part of the mask equation is that everyone wears it.

“The best double masking is when one person is masked and the other is masked,” he said. “It’s the most important thing, as long as everyone in a particular encounter is masked.”

There are also questions about when King County and the country can return to normal, or something similar. Cohen said that normal means being able to return children directly to school and see other generations of the family, such as parents. It happens when his child, grandparents, and himself are vaccinated.

“We certainly want most people to be vaccinated by the summer,” he said. “There are many things that can happen from now on, but it’s great to really think about summer with the goal of feeling a little more normal.”


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