The New COVID Strain Makes This One Thing Even More Risky, Doctor Warns

The new coronavirus mutation calls for people to take this precaution more seriously.

As new variants of COVID continue to pop up around the world and make their way to the U.S., people are wondering whether they should be doing anything differently to avoid coronavirus. Since the U.K. strain was confirmed to be 70 percent more transmissible, it poses a profound threat to the country, which is already overwhelmed with cases. Experts have said that while the new strain of COVID doesn't call for any new precautions, it does make the current precautions that much more essential. Additionally, experts warn that there is one activity that's even more risky to do with the new COVID variant making its rounds. Read on to learn more about what you should be avoiding, and for more urgent news on coronavirus mutations, Dr. Fauci Just Issued This Warning About Another New COVID Strain.

Indoor gatherings are even more risky now.

Man bringing some beer to the friends.

Indoor gatherings have been ill-advised throughout the pandemic, but now experts are warning that they're even more dangerous. During a Jan. 8 interview with NBC, Ashish Jha, MD, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said, "Indoor gatherings of any kind outside of your family bubble is risky, and the new variant makes it that much more so." Jha added that indoor gatherings devoid of masks are "where things really get us into trouble."

Stuart Ray, MD, Vice-Chair of Medicine for Data Integrity and Analytics at Johns Hopkins Medicine, shared a similar sentiment. "We give the virus an advantage to evolve when we congregate in more confined spaces," he explained. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The new variant doesn't call for new precautions.

People standing waiting in line far apart to maintain social distance distancing during covid-19 coronavirus outbreak with mark cross signs on sidewalk pavement by grocery food store shop shopping

Although there is no new advice that applies explicitly to the new COVID variant, it does make the existing precautions more necessary than ever. "It doesn't actually change the public health message. In fact, it just makes it that much more urgent that we do it," Jha said. "The virus still transmits in the same way. The virus still transmits when people gather largely indoors and not wearing masks."

Ray added, "There is no demonstration yet that these strains are biologically different in ways that would require any change in current recommendations meant to limit spread of COVID-19." And for more on the future of the pandemic, If You Take These OTC Meds, You Have to Stop Before Getting the Vaccine.

But we do need to emphasize the existing precautions.

A young woman is considering whether to remove the medical mask after the end of the quarantine due to the coronavirus
Andrey Zhuravlev / iStock

In the face of the new COVID variant, Ray expressed that "we need to re-emphasize basic public health measures, including masking, physical distancing, good ventilation indoors, and limiting gatherings of people in close proximity with poor ventilation."

By ignoring these precautions, you make it easier for the virus to spread. And for more on this particular variant, Dr. Fauci Just Made This Scary Prediction About the U.K. COVID Strain.

And we need higher quality masks.

A young woman wearing a face mask outdoors while holding a yoga mat.

Jha feels that one precaution that could be improved is mask quality. "High-quality masks are really important," he said. "We've not done much to make masks high quality—that's something we still need to work on."

The next time you're replacing your mask, do your research to ensure it will protect you as much as possible. And for more on preventing the spread of COVID, If You're Not Doing This, Your Mask Won't Protect You, Study Says.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
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