COVID-19 “Super Strain” and What coming back to Campus may Look Like

By Fiona English

Weeks ago, a new strain of COVID-19 was found in England, which was discovered to be significantly more contagious than the previous strain. England immediately went on lockdown following the discovery of this “superbug.”

However, the superbug cropped up again and was found here in the US. For many experts, the spread of this “superbug” can result in a total shutdown once again. Cases of the super strain were found in five states so far, including Florida, and all reports are dangerously contagious. However, three current COVID-19 vaccines have shown some effectiveness against the new strain. Vaccines, as of now, are still not readily available to all. Because of this, it is more important now than ever to follow CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of ourselves and those around us. 

As many experts feared, the new year would bring an onslaught of new cases. Following the new year, the record for recent cases in one day was broken by almost double the amount of the previous data. January 2nd reported over 30,000 new cases in one day in Florida alone.   

But what has caused this mass jump in cases, and is it a result of the new super strain?

While the recent tension is not a cause of this stark rise in cases, it does raise a cause for concern. New Year’s Eve parties have created “super spreader” events, and many developments in vaccine and vaccine distribution have made a false sense of security. This has led to masses of people breaking quarantine, social distancing, and mask guidelines to get back to “normal.” These conditions could turn the superbug into a threat worse than what we saw at the beginning of the pandemic. 

Many people have this false sense that a vaccine is a “cure” to the virus. Like all other vaccines, they are designed so that your body builds an immunity to the virus. We do not yet know what percentage of vaccinations are needed for “herd immunity,” a term used to refer to when a population of people has enough immunity against a disease or bacteria that it is unlikely to spread. For herd immunity to work, many people need to be vaccinated and establish immunity against the virus.

As we start the new semester, it is essential to note the safeguards FSW has put in place. Masks and social distancing is now required, similarly to last semester. For students going back to face-to-face classes, remember to wash your hands, wear a mask, and social distance.

Fiona English

Staff Writer – Community

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