INDIANAPOLIS — Variants of the coronavirus are playing a big part in the fight against COVID-19.
This week, the CDC released that the UK variant is now the predominant COVID-19 variant in the United States.
“I think we’re definitely seeing more variants and it is concerning,” Dr. Cole Beeler, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at IU Health said. “It’s concerning because it seems it is more infectious. Actually all the variants right now that are variants of concern or VOCs seem like they’re more infectious and able to spread a little bit more efficiently from person to person.”
This is happening as cases are climbing in the Hoosier state. The younger age groups who are just now starting to get vaccinated also seem to be the ones getting infected the most.
“Indiana has been worsening over the last few weeks probably because of travel and mobility and lack of masks in the younger age groups,” Dr. Beeler said.
It’s still unclear whether these new variants are deadlier.
“I think the jury is still out on whether the vaccines that are currently available work or don’t work against the variants,” he said. “Right now I don’t see any strong signals to suggest that the vaccines don’t protect you.”
Beeler said the only thing that can stop the spread of COVID-19 is by reaching herd immunity.
“If we don’t get to herd immunity this is going to maintain itself at a low level probably throughout the summer and then there eventually will be a new virus that comes about, a new variant of the virus, that we are going to need a booster for and have to go through this all again," he said.
Healthcare workers on the front lines throughout this entire pandemic agree.
“The vaccination part is I think the most important piece which will help contain Covid,” Dr. Sandeep Batra, IU Health Riley Hospital pediatric oncologist said.
“I am challenging you and I’m asking you to please consider to be among those who choose to do whatever it takes to stop this virus,” Monica Hammerly, an IU health nurse said. “Make your appointment today.”