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What we know and don't know about COVID-19 variants

Posted at 11:52 PM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 23:52:13-05

(LEX 18) — As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now tracks three COVID-19 variants in the United States, only one has been confirmed in Kentucky.

The CDC tracks the United Kingdom, South African and Brazilian variants of the coronavirus. As of Friday, the UK variant was the only one of the three confirmed in Kentucky, two of which were found in Kenton County.

The UK variant was first detected in the U.S. in December and spreads more easily than previous strains, according to the CDC.

"It's not more dangerous for the person who gets it than the previous version of the virus but since more people can get it more quickly and more easily that means you could have more people get sick," said Dr. Steven Stack, Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Public Health.

But many questions remain about the COVID-19 Variants, according to the CDC, including:

-How widely the variants have spread
-How getting sick with a variant may differ from other strains
-How effective available vaccines are against the variants

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But health experts continue to urge vaccinations as fast as possible. On Friday, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the best way to stop future COVID-19 mutations was to get people vaccinated quickly.

"When you do that you prevent replication and replication is essential for mutation," he said.