How to protect yourself from a new COVID variant


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Yale Medicine infectious disease Doctor Manisha Juthani calls the new coronavirus variant, “another hit in the cascade of what we’re facing.”

The variant, first identified in Britain, is known as B.1.1.7. , and is considered to be more contagious than the original strain.

“We already know the challenges of getting the virus,” Dr. Juthani said. “Now if it’s more infectious than what we thought before, it just makes all those things regarding distance and masking and hand hygiene all the more important.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this new variant could become the dominant source of infection in the United States by March.

Britain’s Prime Minister now says that in addition to being more contagious, early evidence shows the new variant might be more deadly too. But, more studies are needed.  

If the same things that protected us from the original strain should help protect us from this variant, some experts suggest wearing multiple masks.

“You’re gonna be in line at a grocery store or something and you don’t know if people are gonna get too close to you, and you feel more comfortable doubling up on a mask. I think that’s perfectly reasonable to try to get that seal a little bit better. Or also potentially create more layers,” Juhtani said.

So, if you have a couple of masks, one cloth, the other a surgical, or what can be called a medical mask, which goes on first?

“Medical mask underneath where maybe it gets that nose area a little bit better and then a cloth one on top maybe gives you a better feeling of protection. That certainly could be done, and many people are doing it, ” Juthani said. “But to me, the biggest take-home point is try to make sure you have a good seal.”

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