Health experts in Jacksonville talk about contagious variants in India

India has 18 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 200,000 deaths.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – A crippling COVID surge in India with 18 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 200,000 deaths.

Over the past week, India’s local health experts have confirmed COVID cases hit a global record.

“Much of India is not a first world country. So many cases and so many deaths are truly a humanitarian crisis,” said Chad Neilsen, director of infection prevention at UF Health Jacksonville.

As the days go by, the number of people increases. Neilsen says India is fighting its second wave of COVID.

“The proliferation is so rapid and devastating in many areas with its limited resources,” said Neilsen.

A day after the CDC issued a travel advisory to avoid travel to India, President Joe Biden announced plans to restrict travel to the country starting Tuesday.

“Variants can travel across countries and continents and not respect international borders,” said Dr. Elizabeth Ransom, executive vice president and chief physician executive at Baptist Health.

It is assumed that variant B.1.617 was started in India. Dr. Ransomware says some call it a double mutant.

“This particular variant has these two mutations on the spike protein, which appears to be responsible for its higher transmissibility,” said Dr. Ransom.

Viruses spread quickly, according to Neilsen. In fact, variant B.1.617 has already been recognized in the USA

“We know the vaccines are working. Your ultimate goal should be to get vaccinated. because then you will significantly reduce the risk of getting COVID everywhere, “said Neilsen.

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