By Ashwin Narra
The Covid-19 pandemic has put the world on pause, and while some countries are returning to normal faster than others, it is evident that the overall storm is nowhere close to being weathered. According to CNN as of Jan. 29, 2021, there have been a total of 101,778,799 coronavirus cases and 2,198,307 deaths across the world.
Per CNN reports, The U.S., India, Brazil, Russia, and the U.K. are leading the world in Covid-19 cases. The U.S. has passed the 25 million mark, and is far above the rest of the leaderboard with India at approximately 10 million cases, Brazil having 9,058,876 cases, Russia with 3,771,554 cases and the U.K. with 3,743,734 cases.
Along with the rising number of cases everyday is a new Covid-19 variant called the “B117” strain. It has been found in eight different U.S. states and 33 countries. The new strain is 30%-90% more deadly than the original coronavirus strain, which only raises more questions for the public. Research shows that Moderna and Pfizer vaccines protect against the variant, though slightly less effective.
According to euroweeklynews.com, The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, said recently, “the situation is extremely serious, although the rapid pace of vaccine rollouts over the coming weeks offered hope. Analysts have warned that should the new “mutant” strains become dominant in Europe, further travel restrictions and lockdowns could damage the bloc’s already ailing economy.”
With this new strain, the world is awaiting effective vaccine access for the general public. According to BBCNews.com, most researchers say that by the end of summer 2021, a vaccine will most likely be available to a majority of the global population, but that prediction could change quickly if the new coronavirus strand becomes more deadly than expected.
In a recent press conference on Jan. 29, 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said , “their (the United Kingdom) vaccines proved to be less effective against the new variant of the virus”. He says “ it is a wake up call for everyone because the new variants will continue to evolve until it is blocked from replicating.” As Dr. Fauci said, this is truly a “wake up call” and only adds to the level of uncertainty that the world is dealing with at the moment.