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State College COVID-19 Variant

With a new variant of the coronavirus appearing in the state, and confirmed in Centre County, it has quickly been deemed a culprit of those higher numbers. However, Geisinger Health System’s Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases says there’s more to the elevated numbers than that.

“And the variants may play a role in this right, if the variants are becoming more dominant then they are more easily spread, that may be one of the reasons why we are seeing an uptick in cases. But clearly, a lot of it has to do with, uh, with a lot of us taking our foot off the gas so to speak, right?”

In addition, Penn State’s director of the Center For Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State’s Huck Institute of Life Sciences says that the existing vaccines actually do tackle this new variant.

“I do want to point out however that the current Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, the three vaccines that are available in the United States, are all effective against this variant at the same at the same efficacy as the original SARS-Coronavirus.”

And with bars and restaurants set to increase capacity drastically next week, Doctor Martin says those who choose to go to them should be as careful as possible.

“Try to be conscious about the amount of time you spend there try to be in an area that’s well ventilated now at least with the weather being a little bit nicer, right, if you’re outside, uh, on a patio, uh, or a deck, that’s much safer than being in a very cramped, indoor room. Wearing a mask, of course, uh, you know if you’re not actually actively putting something in your mouth, drinking or eating, then (motions over face) put the mask on.”

He says ultimately, bringing those numbers back down can be done by following the same rules instituted over a year ago.

“At the end of the day, we know perfectly well how to prevent this virus, right?  “You wear a mask, you socially distance.”

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