What We Know: Affinity Health Talks About The New Covid-19 Strain
With reports suggesting that the new South African coronavirus strain is 50% more infectious than previous strains, Affinity Health takes a closer look at the country’s recent surge of infections.
Scientists around the world are struggling to learn more about previously unknown variants of the coronavirus that appear to spread more easily from person to person than other versions of the pathogen causing Covid-19. Meanwhile, doctors and scientists fighting a second surge of Covid-19 cases in South Africa are studying another new variant and what role it plays in the rising tide of cases in our country.
Affinity Health is keen to point out that there’s still a lot we don’t know about this new strain. Here are 10 facts we know so far:
- SA’s new Covid-19 strain carries mutations in the spike protein. Simply put, the strain changed the shape of the small protein spikes on the coronavirus cell’s surface. The shape change allows the coronavirus cell to better grip onto human cells, increasing the chances of infection.
- Currently, there is no evidence that SA’s new Covid-19 strain (called 501.V2) causes more severe illness or increased risk of death, but it does appear to spread more quickly.
- The new strain has caused infection numbers to sky-rocket in SA, putting our healthcare system under massive pressure.
- Authorities believe the new variant spread from Nelson Mandela Bay through the Eastern Cape to the Garden Route and into KwaZulu-Natal.
- With more than 1.3 million people infected, SA has recorded more cases than any other country on the continent and has also suffered more deaths.
- Where precisely this new variant originated is unclear.
- It’s unknown if the current vaccines will be effective against the new variant of the virus. But, before you panic: There’s currently no evidence that the vaccines won’t work against the new variant either.
- The new strain has also spread internationally, prompting the SA government to tighten its lockdown.
- Despite some reports, it’s mostly believed that the variant isn’t the same as the UK variant that first emerged in late 2020.
- There are many thousands of different versions, or variants, of Covid circulating.
“When it comes to this new Covid-19 strain, there are still huge uncertainties and a long list of unanswered questions,” says Affinity Health CEO Murray Hewlett. “Precautionary measures such as washing your hands, keeping your distance from other people, and wearing a face-covering will still help prevent infections, and because the new variants spread more easily, it is important to be extra vigilant.”
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, and Instagram.