For most of the last year, health experts have been urging Americans to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. However, with the arrival of the new virus variants, it has never been more crucial. During the first public briefing of President Joe Biden's Coronavirus Task Force, the new Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, expressed concern about the mutations currently identified in the United States, and revealed a few of the best ways to avoid them. Read on to hear what she had to say—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
First of All, Be Careful Out There. The New Variants Are "More Transmissible"
"I know that there are concerns about the variants," Dr. Walensky said. "Viruses mutate, and we have always expected that variante would emerge and we have been looking with them." The new variants "seem to spread more easily," she revealed. "They're more transmissible, which can lead to an increased number of cases and increase stress on our already taxed healthcare system."
She also shared the latest statistics involving them in the United States—308 cases of the UK variant confirmed in 26 States as of January 26th and one case of the P1 variant first detected in Brazil. "The CDC is committed to working with international and state and local partners and increasing surveillance to monitor the situation and share as soon as we learn more," she added. "The emergence of variants underscores the need for public health action."
The number one way to protect yourself against the virus and the new variants is to "get vaccinated when it is your turn," says Dr. Walensky. Also, she encourages doing your part to get others to do the same. "Some people may need help getting vaccinated," she said. "Please consider helping your neighbors and loved ones schedule or travel to their appointments."
Wear a Mask
Protective face coverings are one of the most important tools in preventing the spread of COVID. And, they are just as relative now as they were in the spring, according to Dr. Walensky.
Practice Social Distancing
The CDC suggests keeping a six-foot distance between yourself and others to prevent respiratory spread of the virus.
Wash Your Hands
Hand hygiene is another CDC-endorsed method of protecting yourself and others from the virus.
There is no better time to cancel your travel plans. "Now is not the time to travel," Dr. Walensky asserted. "But if you must, be safe and follow the CDC guidelines." This includes wearing a mask as well as testing and quarantining protocol.
Do Your Part
"Please do your part to get cases down by simply taking these actions," Dr. Walensky concluded. So follow public health fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.