Doctors Think The New COVID-19 Variant Is Already In Oklahoma

Tuesday, January 19th 2021, 5:07 pm
By: Kelsey Kernstine

Nearly a year after COVID-19 hit the United States, a super-spreader variant strain of the virus is spreading rampantly, further imploding hospitals.

The new strain has already been seen in multiple states including Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.

“I am betting it’s in Oklahoma,” OU’s Chief COVID Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said. "You can’t control the spread of a highly contagious virus across state lines.”

He said the COVID-19 virus has more than 20 mutations, but this one in particular is highly transmissible.

Bratzler said the good news is the complications of this strain are no worse and no better than the other strains.

"It attaches more quickly to the human receptor, so if you are exposed to somebody who has it, you'll more likely to get it," he said.

But with hospitals nearly at capacity, more cases means less hospital space, and eventually, more deaths.

"If you have increased case numbers, you will have more people eventually end up in the hospital,” Bratzler said.

The variant strain does require specific genetic testing, and Bratzler said it’s a matter of time before Oklahoma confirms the strain is here.

“The CDC is now doing random sampling from all states,” Bratzler said.

Health care professionals said they fear the spread of this strain, especially as doctors are seeing an increase in cases in kids.

According to Bratzler, Moderna has done research and said in a statement it does appear its vaccine is effective against the variant strain.