There’s a New COVID-19 Strain. How Should We Prepare?

By Chandra Pepino For Belo Medical Group on January 1, 2021

2020 was only the beginning. The New York Times has just reported that 32 more countries have found the new strain of COVID-19 within their borders, first seen in the United Kingdom. In a surprisingly swift move by the government, inbound travel restrictions have been set for 20 countries, including the United States. All this to prevent the Philippines from bearing the brunt of a newer—and reportedly more infectious—strain of the coronavirus that has plagued the earth for over a year now. So, with news of this COVID-19 strain, how should we all prepare?

  1. Continue best practices—and be more diligent about them.

You already know the basics. Now, it’s time to kick those safety habits into overdrive. According to a report by CNN Philippines, the new strain “was responsible for 60% of new infections in London.” If you’ve been going out more than usual because of the holidays, it’s time to absolutely stay home unless you really, really need to go out. There are no reports yet of the new COVID strain being in the country, but we shouldn’t wait to be more careful until them. Masks, hand soap, disinfectant, social distancing, online deliveries (hint, hint)—you know the drill.

  1. Do not spread false information.

Everyone is already fatigued enough by the events of 2020. Let’s not rock the boat even more by hastily spreading unverified infographics on WhatsApp group chats. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, “there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.” Triple-check your information, check publications dates to see if the information is recent, and—yep—check your information again. Only then should you spread the word.

  1. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, just in case.

No one wants another enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). But if 2020’s taught us anything, it’s to lower our expectations and have a backup plan ready. Make plans for a future lockdown: prepare your budget plan, keep (but don’t hoard!) essential groceries handy if possible, and make sure you and your family have hard-to-get items (like certain medicines) at home. Again, this is a just-in-case measure. It’s for your peace of mind more than anything else, so there’s no need to overreact and panic-buy circa March 2020. (Shudder.)

“We need to re-emphasize basic public health measures, including masking, physical distancing, good ventilation indoors, and limiting gatherings of people in close proximity with poor ventilation,” says COVID-19 expert Stuart Ray, M.D. in an article by Johns Hopkins Medicine. “We give the virus an advantage to evolve when we congregate in more confined spaces.” 

While there’s no need to panic, there is a need to reevaluate how complacent we may have become in terms of dealing with the virus. What can we do (or stop doing) to protect ourselves better? As always, Belo Beauties, stay safe and healthy!

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