Will the second round of vaccines be enough to stop the newest COVID-19 strain in CT?

Coronavirus

(WTNH) — The White House COVID task force announced, on top of a UK strain that mutated and is up to 70 percent more contagious than regular COVID, looks like a U.S, born strain is at least 50 percent as contagious as before.

The bottom line is there is more COVID and it is easier to catch. It can have a serious impact on Connecticut.

Governor Lamont announced a major milestone Friday.

“Connecticut is the first state in the country where every nursing home has gotten their vaccine for their first shot,” Gov. Ned Lamont.

But until the second dose is administered, studies have shown the vaccines are only about 50 percent effective in protecting you from COVID. As the second doses of the vaccine are being administered daily, will it be enough to stop the newest fast-moving strain in Connecticut?

“Vaccines are a hope on the horizon, but it’s going to take time for everybody to get vaccinated. I certainly know people who have gotten vaccinated, who are still getting COVID. They might be milder cases which is the good news,” Manisha Juthani, MD, Yale Medicine.

More good news: the current COVID tests are still able to detect the mutated strains. And while they are not deadlier, the fact that they are more contagious means more disease in the community.

Dr. Juthani adds, “If you have more people infected, it’s not rocket science to understand that some of those people are going to have more severe disease and eventually end up in the hospital. So we don’t always know who it is that’s going to be more severely infected.”

Some hospitals in the state say they will have room to expand capacity for beds and they will be able to manufacture more PPE. But one thing that this strain will have a direct impact on if it continues to flare up, will be their front line healthcare workers.

“Healthcare workers have gotten COVID. Healthcare workers are taking care of COVID patients and non-COVID patients. They are most certainly getting tired all around,” Dr. Juthani said.

Dr. Juthani says to keep in mind this: As the strains mutate, and there’s a good likelihood there will be more new ones out there in the future, she says they can also adjust the vaccine if it becomes ineffective against certain ones.

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