CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WV News) – The UK variant of COVID-19 – about 50 percent more contagious, about 50 percent more deadly, and targeting young people – is on the rise in West Virginia.
That is the word of Dr. Clay Marsh, the state tsar of COVID-19, on Friday during the day’s pandemic briefing. State officials will “have that number and the report next week,” but “we are seeing more positive tests confirmed as a variant virus, and especially a British variant,” added Marsh.
The state has reached about a third of its population with at least the first dose of COVID-19 vaccination, and that’s fine, but getting at least 50% or 66% as soon as possible would be better after the virus. news, Marsh pointed out.
He points to the success of Great Britain, with the first injection of the vaccine in about 50% of their population, and Israel, with the first injection in about 66% of their population. The current Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are effective against the British variant, Marsh added.
“They have been able to see a large number of people going to the hospital and also the number of people going to the hospital decreasing [are better] controlling … the current deployment of specific variants in their country, “said Marsh.
“So I’m saying that not to scare people – although I think it’s important to realize that no one is at risk of catching COVID-19 today, including young people – but also very, very important that every West Virginia who is now able to meet condition, if you are 16 years and over, to get the COVID vaccine you must choose to be vaccinated, “said Marsh.
He added that “the way we prevent the spread of this variant, so as not to infect more people, is to make more of us immune,” Marsh said.
Marsh appealed to parents to bring their high school students aged 16, 17, and 18 to get vaccinated immediately. The WVU Medical Officer also urged immediate vaccination of students and “other West Virginia youth, up to the age of 30 or 35.”
“You risk severe consequences and become infected with COVID, but also … you run the risk of spreading this variant to more vulnerable people in our state,” added Marsh.
Marsh and Governor Jim Justice also said it was important for West Virginia residents in other age categories to be vaccinated as quickly as possible.
The race now is to try to stay ahead of mutations, Marsh pointed out, adding that would help prevent newer mutations, plus give researchers time to find new answers as COVID-19 changes.
In background to Marsh’s comments, the state’s seven-day trending figures released Friday showed two out of eight age groups – ages 10-19, and ages 20-29 – accounted for 1,099 cases during that period, or about 38% of the total. of 2,900 cases.