UPDATED 10:03 AM PT – Monday, December 21, 2020
Amid reports of a new COVID-19 strain in the U.K., top U.S. health officials said they are not eyeing a ban on travel to the country.
Adm. Brett Giroir and Dr. Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, said on Sunday that Americans shouldn’t start panicking over the new coronavirus variant.
Massive over reaction by France in closing borders and interrupting trade due to the new strain of Covid 19. Trying to hold the U.K to ransom is the modus operandi of successive dictators we have defeated. Definitely something “fishy” about all this.
— Andrew Bridgen (@ABridgen) December 21, 2020
Over the weekend, several countries restricted flights to the U.K. due to the discovery of a new, more infectious strain of COVID-19. However, Adm. Giroir said that there are nearly 4,000 known mutations to the virus and there’s been no evidence the new variant is more dangerous than others.
Meanwhile, Dr. Slaoui confirmed that the Trump administration is studying the new strain “very closely.” He also said that there is a very slim chance the virus will mutate to the point that the vaccine will not be effective against it.
“You can never say never in science, so there could be, at some point, something that comes up that helps the virus escape,” Dr. Slaoui explained. “The vaccines are inducing antibodies against many different parts of the spike protein and the chances that all of them change are low, but they are not inexistent,” he added.
Health officials said that while this new strain spreads faster than other ones, it doesn’t appear to make symptoms more severe.
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