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Epidemiologist Warns Of Risks From More Contagious COVID-19 Strain

Epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding tried last January to warn the world about how bad COVID-19 was going to get. He was mocked and scolded for being ‘alarmist’ — but he’s been proven right for the past year. Now he’s warning his audience again.

Feigl-Ding: rapid action necessary against covid strain
[Researchers at Aalborg University screen and analyze all positive Danish coronavirus samples for the virus variant cluster B117 from the United Kingdom, in Aalborg, Denmark on January 15, 2021, during the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. – The B117 coronavirus strain, which emerged in Britain late last year, has been shown to be between 40 and 70 percent more contagious than variants which have spread previously. (Photo by Henning Bagger / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP) / Denmark OUT (Photo by HENNING BAGGER/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images]

In Twitter threads on Wednesday and Thursday, Dr. Feigl-Ding addressed the B117 strain of the virus, and the shorter contact time in which it’s being contracted. He cited The Globe & Mail, which reported this week that health officials are being forced to redefine ‘close contact’ as the new strain passes between victims more easily.

It’s not just Canada, either. The B117 strain, first identified in the UK, has already been seen in the U.S., and could be the dominant strain inside a month, according to StatNews. Feigl-Ding addresses this too, noting that it has ‘taken over’ in the UK.

He’s again warning anyone who will listen that a speedy and effective response is necessary to get any kind of control over this outbreak.

Dr. Feigl-Ding also reiterated an explanation of how ‘close contact’ has been defined for virus tracing purposes, and makes sure that his audience doesn’t mistakenly think that scientists are just learning the virus can travel more than 6 feet.

He has specifically laid out concerns for schools, calling for masking and for outdoor tents for meals if cafeterias can’t be converted to have sufficient ventilation and distancing for safety.

To be clear though, Dr. Feigl-Ding does suggest that getting kids back in school — safely — is important.

Throughout 2020, the COVID-19 response in the U.S. was piecemeal and varying. A uniform response may help — Dr. Feigl-Ding also expressed concerns that residents of states that are enacting fewer precautions are able to freely travel and transmit the virus in states that have made a stronger effort.

Though the new administration has made stronger promises to act swiftly and uniformly, in an effort to unify the U.S. against COVID-19, this new variant is also moving fast, and Feigl-Ding is again warning that if we don’t respond quickly and strongly enough, it will be even more devastating.



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