HEALTH HEADLINES: Yale doctor monitoring India COVID variant; we could see rise in STDs as adults emerge from isolation


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Infectious disease doctors are monitoring the emergence of the more contagious COVID-19 variant from India in British schools. With older people highly vaccinated, doctors are noticing more cases of the virus in younger people and kids.

“The concern is that this is a variant that can threaten the kids who haven’t really been vaccinated yet and so we need to keep an eye out for that,” says Yale Medicine Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu, an infectious disease specialist and instructor at Yale School of Medicine.

Dr. Ogbuagu says the good news is that here in the United States that Indian variant, B.1.617, is only responsible for 1% of COVID-19 cases. He says it is not of concern now but could be a looming threat in the future.

As for summer travel, Dr. Ogbuagu says people vaccinated are highly protected and can enjoy certain liberties. However, he urges caution with younger children.

“Many of us travel as a family and our kids haven’t been vaccinated so I think it’s not quite time to let up with regards to what we need to do which is again hand hygiene, keep six-foot distancing, and keep our masks on.”

He says while airplanes are not places where COVID-19 can easily spread due to air ventilation and circulation, you should be fully vaccinated before even considering travel.

And now that quarantine restrictions are being relaxed infectious disease doctors say it’s possible they will see a rise in sexually transmitted diseases. So many have been isolated for so long.

“There’s almost going to be a rebound effect where there’s just that excitement to return back to normal and interact and it’s just human behavior that is totally normal,” says Dr. Obuagu.

“Everyone stay safe, protect yourself in the ways you know how and hopefully we all get through this together.”

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