Protecting Yourself From The New Coronavirus Strains
Protecting yourself from the new coronavirus strains is a concern shared by many people. With news of the horrific scale of infections and deaths in India and other countries it is as important as ever to take care.
What we know
According to the latest information, there are currently 11 variants of Covid-19 known to be in circulation within the UK
- The VOC-20DEC-01 variant was first detected in the UK and was first sequenced in the UK in September 2020.
- The VOC-20DEC-02 variant was first detected in South Africa and was first sequenced in the UK in December 2020.
- The VUI-21JAN-01 variant was first detected in Brazil and was first sequenced in the UK in November 2020.
- The VOC-21JAN-02 variant was first detected in Japan in travellers from Brazil in January 2021 and was first detected in the UK in February 2021.
- The VUI-21FEB-01 variant was first detected in the UK in December 2020.
- The VOC-21FEB-02 variant was first detected in the UK in December 2020.
- The VUI-21FEB-03 variant was first detected in the UK in December 2020.
- The VUI-21FEB-04 variant’s location of first detection is to be confirmed.
- The VUI-21MAR-01 variant’s location of first detection is to be confirmed.
- The VUI-21MAR-02 variant’s location of first detection is to be confirmed.
- The VUI-21APR-01 variant was first detected in India.
How viruses mutate
All viruses naturally mutate over time. A virus replicates by making copies of itself. When a virus replicates within the host body, in this case inside human beings, small mistakes can occur in the genes of the copied virus. In most cases these mutations have no effect on the virus at all. Sometimes this makes the virus weaker and less effective, and in other instances it can become more dangerous. The more people infected, the greater a chance the virus has to undergo mutations and the more likely a mutation is to occur, and for a new more deadly Coronavirus strain to appear.
Protecting yourself from the new coronavirus strains
There are many ways you can reduce your chances of becoming infected with Covid-19. Here are a few ways to keep yourself and other safe.
1. Social distancing
Since people can spread the virus without even being aware that they are ill, it is important to stay at least 2 metres away from others where possible. The main transmission route for COVID-19 is through the airborne particles breathed out by infected individuals. Keeping your distance reduces that chance of you inhaling the virus from another person.
2. Stay indoors
Limiting your exposure to COVID-19 can be as easy as staying indoors. The less people you encounter and are in close quarters with, the less likely you are to encounter and be infected by someone carrying the virus. Where possible stay at home. This includes working from home if that is an option and online shopping instead of visiting a physical store.
1. Wear a mask
Wearing a mask is one of the primary ways you can currently protect yourself and those around you from the virus. Protecting yourself from the new coronavirus strains using a mask is a highly effective method. Whilst a virus can mutate and render vaccines less effective, they are still just as likely to be stopped by a quality mask.
2. Get vaccinated
When you are eligible to do so, it is important for you to get vaccinated. You can keep up with updates on the NHS website to see who is currently eligible and also book a vaccination.
Vaccines usually work by containing harmless version or small parts of a virus to train your immune system to recognise it and produce anti-bodies. This means that when you are infected with the real virus your body is already prepared to fight it off. Getting vaccinated is one of the many steps you can take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
3. Hands, Face, Space
Follow advice from the government’s public information campaign. Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds throughout the day. The Coronavirus can live for up to 24hrs in indoor environments such as on hands rails and door handles. Washing your hands and using hand sanitiser is an effective way to reduce you chances of catching Covid-19.
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