• Thursday, July 25, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

New COVID-19 variant: Need for hospital admission rises among younger adults at NHS

new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7

The new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7 is increasingly sending younger adults to hospitals wards as infection spikes in the UK, Tunde Gafaar, a doctor at the National Health Service (NHS), London confirmed to BusinessDay.

He said the hospital has started to see rise in severe cases of coronavirus presentation from people in their 20s and 40s, who have no underlying medical conditions.

“What we have been seeing in the last two weeks at my hospital is that unlike before, a significant number of the people that need hospital admission are young and have little or no medical conditions,” he told BusinessDay

“So we have a theory that it’s the new strain that they have”

He, however, noted that more tests have been conducted under the second wave of the pandemic, compared to the first wave, reeling out more positive results.

On May 1, for instance, 6,200 people were confirmed positive from 74,142 tests conducted.

But by December 17, 375,185 tests were conducted with 35, 383 positive cases confirmed.

“The new strain appears to be affecting more young and fit people than the original strain. It’s also been confirmed to be more easily spread than the original strain,” Gafaar added.

Also, children are equally as vulnerable as adults to the new COVID-19 variant, due to higher rate of transmission, Wendy Barclay, government adviser and virologist at Imperial College London told the New York Times in a monitored report.

Epidemiologists estimate that the new strain has an increased transmission rate of about 70 per cent compared to other variants.

Reports show researchers are still running experiments to confirm this contagion rate and how it infects cells.

Such experiments have already been done to study one of the earlier mutations from the virus called 614G.

According to studies in cell culture and animals, the variant proved to be more transmissible than its predecessors but control measures worked just as well against 614G as other variants. The same is likely true for B.1.1.7.

“According to what we already know, it does not alter the effectiveness of social distancing, face masks, hand washing, hand sanitisers and ventilation,” Muge Cevik, an infectious disease specialist at the University of St. Andrews School of Medicine said on Twitter.