New and potentially more contagious strain of coronavirus discovered in Ohio

Mutation not a cause to panic yet but reason to continue distancing and vaccinations

Coronavirus mutation found in Ohio

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The new strain of COVID-19 not a surprise in the science community given normal activity of viral or bacterial infections.

“They do a lot of replicating and they’re not very good at doing it, so often times they make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes actually lead to an advantage for them,” says Dr. Claudia Hoyen, director of Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital infection control. “The advantage that this new strain has is it seems to be more infectious.”

The current vaccine will apparently work on the mutation, according to Dr. Hoyen, but it is a renewed call to social distancing and mask wearing despite having a vaccine.

“It’s not time to throw in the towel,” says Dr. Hoyen. “The more we allow these virus to replicate, the higher the chance that they’re going to make a mistake and in some of those errors they may get lucky and incur a change that can be more devastating.”

Dr. Hoyen says despite having no cases in Northeast Ohio yet, given the travel around the state, she expects the new strain to show up in Cleveland.

But she offers reassurance.

“Don’t panic at this point,” says Dr. Hoyen. “There’s no data to suggest this is a more severe strain or anything like that.”

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