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Like COVID-19, Masking Up And Social Distancing Best Defense Against UK Variant

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Kentucky’s first two cases of the COVID-19 variant from the United Kingdom have been confirmed in Kenton County but health officials say it’s safe to assume it is spreading. Medical experts in the UK say it is about 50% more contagious and has a higher death rate, however, it isn’t more dangerous.

State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack explained that the mortality rate coincides with the infection rate of the UK strain. “It means if you get exposed to it you may be more likely to get infected by it and so that means that it can infect more people more quickly,” Dr. Stack continued “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 easily that means you could have more people get sick, more people who die. Not because it’s more lethal to the people who get it but because a lot more people get it and then that changes the overall number of people who have the worst outcomes.”

As far as protection, many medical experts including the Chief Medical Adviser to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci, are recommending double masking. Dr. Stack said wearing the three-layer cloth masks that are already recommended in Kentucky and following other guidelines are the best form of defense. “The best thing you can do is to stay more than six feet away from people because then you just aren’t close enough to get exposed. So one I would say maintain your distance and wear your mask and I would worry less about double masking than just making sure you wear a mask and stay more than six feet away”

The CDC anticipates the UK variant will be the dominant strain of COVID in the US by March. Dr. Stack said it has the same varied degree of symptoms as COVID-19 and requires the same quarantine guidelines if you are exposed.