It looks like we are in for a long haul with Covid-19 and everyday there is new information coming out relating to this pandemic. Inzspire has searched for the latest information on the virus and here are 5 items of recent news-the first of many posts for 2021:
#1 New Variant of the virus
It is generally accepted amongst the medical fraternity that viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time.
This is the case as a mutation of Covid-19 or variant was discovered in late September 2020 in London and Kent, England. Medical experts in the UK evaluated the relationship between transmission and frequency of the new variant. Their alarming discovery brought the conclusion that the variant is growing rapidly, is more transmissible than other variants, and affecting a greater proportion of under 20s. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. They were quickly to confirm that the new vaccines should still prove to be effective against this new variation of the virus.
#2 Mutations cropping up everywhere
The new strain is called SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01 or “B.1.1.7.” The new spike in cases in the UK due to this new strain, as the initial analysis has shown that it is anything between 56% to 70% more infectious than other Covid-2 strains in circulation.
As the new spike has emerged, the suspicion lies firmly with increased family and social mixing due to the festive season.
The virus is also not exclusive to the UK, as cases not only have now been identified in many countries in Europe, but also in Australia, Canada, Lebanon and South Korea. Also,there is a new variant in South Africa, known as 501.V2, which has driven a surge in infections there, according to country health officials.
#3 Asymptomatic COVID infections
Asymptomatic is where a person is infected with, for example, Covid-19, who does not develop symptoms but can pass the virus onto others.
It is currently considered that there is a lower risk of transmission from asymptomatic people but they are more likely to be out in the community than isolated at home thus making them a potentially significant risk to vulnerable people. It would appear that a full lockdown would be the only course of action for respective governments in an attempt to control the virus.
Due to the lack of concrete data, the medical fraternity are unable to determine the level of risk asymptomatic people pose to the general public. This is because the medical experts are having trouble distinguishing between people who are asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic. A person with pre-symptomatic is somebody who has mild symptoms before they do go on to develop symptoms.
#4 Increase in relationship break-ups
Sadly, one of the results of the pandemic is that we are seeing more relationships breaking up and divorce rates amongst couples have increased according to relationship councillors.
The main reason has been blamed to “lockdown” whereby couples are in constant close proximity of each other thus spending increased amounts of time together.
Breakdown in communication amongst partners, the financial impact of “lockdown” and the increase of individuals suffering with mental illness brought on by isolation are all factors contributing to the breakdown in relationships.
Even long-standing strong relationships that did not have problems before the pandemic have been detrimentally affected. Therapists and psychologists have put this down to “well-established routines that offered comfort, stability and rhythm” being broken thus putting untold stress on relationships.
#5 Will a vaccine get us back to normal?
The general view is that impact of a vaccine will have a positive effect on our lives by the summer and life should return to some form closer to normaility by winter. That is if the vaccine reaches enough of the world population. Of course, the timeframes will differ from country to country.
The initial hope of the first part of 2021 is to inoculate the front-line health workers and the most vulnerable, that is, the elderly with pre-existing health conditions.
But the realistic practicalities of inoculating the world’s population may mean that we have to wait years for the world to recover and return to the normality we used to enjoy. The best we can hope for is that the vaccines end the pandemic as they will not eradicate the virus altogether. So, don’t get rid of your facemask just yet!