New UK variant is 50% more transmissible than original strain of COVID-19 |

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bring in abc news medical contributor dr john brownstein for more on this dr brownstein this new uk strain we’re now seeing in the u.s is said to be more contagious but there have been a lot of different numbers thrown out as to how much more contagious and what that actually means so what does the data tell us at this point right so the good news is the data does say that this new variant is not more severe in terms of hospitalizations and deaths and there’s not a big difference in terms of symptoms and outcomes so those are all good data points there is preliminary data that shows that it’s likely to be 50 more transmissible so that means that it’s just more efficiently entering into the cells it doesn’t necessarily change the dynamics of transmission we know it’s still about uh direct contact and aerosol but it will lead to more cases overall and the concern we have is a more transmissible variant will just lead to more cases which ultimately means more hospitalizations and deaths so it’s not a more severe variant but the data shows us that we could lead to a bigger surge that ultimately leads to really uh very sad milestones that we’re sort of going to see in the next couple months unfortunately so do we need to be doing anything differently as a result wearing a different kind of mask or keeping even more distance from others that kind of thing right so it’s still the same virus right so all the precautions we’ve been taking should line up in the same way it just means that the virus may transmit more efficiently so we sort of have to just double down on these interventions mass wearing social distancing maybe we don’t need to change anything specifically but we need to be more vigilant we need to make sure to be wearing our masks we need to practice social distancing we should be staying at home if we don’t need to be out and we’re not you know working doing anything essential this is why the next couple months are so critical we’re waiting for this vaccine which we think will work against this new variant likely does so this means like now is the time to use the key sort of non-pharmaceutical interventions like mass growing and social distancing that’s what we have at our disposal today and the uk is in a national lockdown in hopes of controlling this new strain but we’re already seeing it in colorado california florida and now new york state so are we heading for a full lockdown in the u.s yeah this is a conversation you and i have had many times you know that lockdown is such an extreme strategy and we know that of course if you lock down you can control the pandemic but at what cost we’re trying to keep our schools open still we’re you know we can do more to reduce our contacts increase testing reduce dining indoor dining and we still don’t have basic things we don’t have a national mass mandate we’re waiting for that we don’t have a national testing strategy we’re still waiting for that so again there’s things we could be doing that were not before that lockdown comes into play remember we have yet to see the impact of the holidays yet you know we’re going to see that in the next week or two at that point it may be at a point where we just can’t do enough in terms of target interventions we may be looking at more widespread lockdowns hopefully we don’t get to that point but unfortunately we may be heading in the same direction as the uk all right dr john brownstein sorry to hear it but thank you for being here thank you hi everyone george stephanopoulos here thanks for checking out the abc news youtube channel if you’d like to get more videos show highlights and watch live event coverage click on the right over here to subscribe to our channel and don’t forget to download the abc news app for breaking news alerts thanks for watching

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