General, Research, Technology

Will a new wave of coronavirus start in 2021?

At the end of 2020, UK authorities reportedon the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus known today as B.1.1.7. It was first discovered in mid-October, while studying the genetic code of samples of the virus collected in different parts of the country. The new strain turned out to be 70% more infectious than the rest, so the disease quickly spread throughout the UK. Then the new virus migrated to Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands. And recently, infection with a new strain was recorded in Russia. Taking into account the recent New Year holidays, during which people saw each other more often than usual, a new wave of coronavirus could begin in the world. The likelihood of this is also increased by the increased infectivity of the new strain. The scientific journal Science even reported that a new wave may be stronger than the previous ones.

The new mutation of the coronavirus is more infectious and this is alarming

The third wave of coronavirus

The first case of coronavirus infection wasrecorded on December 8, 2019. Since humanity had not faced pandemics for a long time, the problem seemed frivolous. The whole world watched what is happening in China until it became clear that the disease began to infect people from other countries. In the spring, almost the whole world was quarantined and most people were forced to stay at home. By the summer, restrictions were eased and during the warm season, there were no sharp jumps in the number of infected people. But in the fall, the virus began to spread even more. The number of confirmed infections may have increased due to the greater availability of tests. Be that as it may, this period has been called the second wave.

In 2020, we learned from our own experience what self-isolation is.

Some researchers believe that the third wavewill start after the New Year holidays. During the weekend, many people, according to tradition, began to meet more often with relatives and friends. The shops were full of people and many forgot about the observance of social distance. It is because of this that the number of infected people may increase again in the coming months. Of course, at the moment there are already several vaccines for coronavirus in the world, but not so many people have been vaccinated. Someone did not have a turn, but someone refuses them, fearing side effects.

See also: Why is the Russian coronavirus vaccine called Sputnik V?

Increased contagiousness of the coronavirus

It is also alarming that the B.1.1.7 is considered more contagious than the rest. Scientists recently calculated the reproductive number of a new strain. This is the name of the average number of people who are able to become infected from one carrier of the virus. According to preliminary data, this figure is about 70% higher than that of other strains of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The reason for this is believed to be that the new strain has undergone many mutations. Basically, the changes have occurred in genes, which play a large role in the ability of the virus to enter human cells. I wrote in more detail about the danger of the new strain of coronavirus in this article.

In addition to B.1.1.7, scientists are also concerned about the strain B.1.351, which was found in South Africa. But little is known about him yet.

The new mutation of the coronavirus is more contagious, but it is notmeans that it is more deadly. At least there is no scientific evidence for this yet. The good news is that the vaccines created so far can protect against infection. And all because they affect the parts of the coronavirus that have not yet mutated. The bad news is that due to the questionable quality of most vaccines, many people are still left without protection. If the new version of the coronavirus is really that infectious, the number of cases could really increase. Most of them should recover, but in proportion to the increase in morbidity, mortality will also increase. In addition, it is not a fact that infected people will recover without consequences. Recently, my colleague Lyubov Sokovikova already wrote that about 76% of those who have recovered from COVID-19 suffer from complications even six months after recovery.

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In order to prevent the beginning of a new wave, peopleit is important to continue to take precautions. In public places, you should still maintain a social distance and not crowd. Also, do not forget about protective masks, the shortage of which is over - they can be bought almost everywhere. It is categorically impossible to touch the face and even more so the eyes until the hands are thoroughly washed with soap and water. And, of course, if you find symptoms like the disappearance of your sense of smell, you need to stop contact with people.