GREENSBORO, N.C. — We've been living with COVID-19 for a year and now there are new variants of the virus that are more contagious and spreading globally, including here in the states. In today's 2 Your Well-Being, we break down what you need to know about new COVID-19 variants.
Dr. Jeffrey Hatcher is the chief medical officer at Wesley Long Hospital. He said there are three variant strains currently recognized by the CDC in the United States. The United Kingdom (UK) identified a variant in the fall of 2020. The CDC said this variant spreads more easily and quickly than other variants. In South Africa, another variant was originally detected in early October 2020. In Brazil, a variant emerged that was first identified in travelers from Brazil, who were tested during routine screening at an airport in Japan, in early January.
Dr. Hatcher said the symptoms for the variants are the same as for COVID-19. They include fever, congestion, and loss of taste and smell. The test to see if you have the variants is also the same. Dr. Hatcher said the state does not test all COVID-19 tests for the variant so there is no way to tell if you are infected with a variant or not.
The steps to protect yourself from the new strains remain the same, according to Dr. Hatcher. That includes the 3 w's: wear a face mask, wash your hands, and wait 6 feet apart. Dr. Hatcher also wants to remind people to stay away from large gatherings to help stop the spread.