One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned during the coronavirus pandemic is that viruses can quickly change through mutations. Today, we know of at least three different strains of SARS-CoV-2, the viruses that causes COVID-19.
There are a few reasons we should be concerned about these newly-identified strains: They may be more infectious than the original virus that came to the US in the spring of 2020. That means we may see spikes in new cases, and our health systems may once again become overwhelmed.
Scientists are still learning about the new variants. One first emerged in the United Kingdom and has been identified in Canada and the United States. This variant spreads quickly and more easily than others, but we don’t know yet if it causes an increased risk of death or severe illness.
The South African variant is similar in some ways to the variant that emerged from the United Kingdom. The Brazilian variant has additional mutations that may affect the ways antibodies recognize it.
These new strains contain spikes of proteins that are longer and more “open” than those in the original virus. This is what makes them more infectious — they can spread through a smaller number of droplets. This means we must remain vigilant about slowing the spread, following the same protocols we first learned in the spring.
Practice Social Distancing
The larger your circle, the greater your chances of contracting and spreading the virus. If you can identify a safe bubble of a small number of people you trust, keep it safe by eliminating close contacts with others.
Limit Onsite Shopping
Online shopping, curbside pickup and delivery are literal lifesavers during the pandemic. Use these services to reduce your exposure while supporting local businesses who need it.
Wear a Mask
Community masking is one of the greatest defenses we have against COVID-19. Wear a mask whenever you are in public, and choose a mask that fits your face securely and contains multiple layers. Always wear your mask over your nose and mouth.
Practice Good Hygiene
Hand hygiene continues to play an important role in limiting the spread of COVID-19. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, and use hand sanitizer when soap isn’t available. The new strains of virus can spread far more easily, so sanitize immediately after handling anything in public, like a gas pump handle or credit card pad.
Schedule Frequent Cleaning Services
The good news is that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed with the right products. We use EPA-approved solutions that are effective against coronaviruses and other germs and bacteria, and we focus on cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched objects in your facility, including doorknobs, ATM machines, light switches, countertops and more. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation for our coronavirus cleaning services!