Sparrow doctor explains new COVID-19 variants


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Although COVID-19 cases are decreasing, doctors say don’t let your guard down completely. Other variants of the virus are here in Michigan and they want you to be protected.

Health officials I spoke with tell me, the most common strain here in Michigan right now is the alpha variant but they say the most infectious is the delta variant which is nearly 60 percent more contagious. Doctors say the best way to protect yourself from all strains is to get the vaccine.

There are confirmed cases of the newer delta variant of COVID-19 here in Michigan but what does that mean exactly? Doctors at Sparrow say every virus mutates over time and many become more infectious. So it’s not surprising the COVID-19 virus has several new strains.

“By just the terminology variant, they’ve been able to evade some of the antibody responses that normally we would see with the initial stages of COVID-19,” said Dr. Paul Entler, Vice-President of quality and performance improvement at Sparrow.

Dr. Entler says often these new strains present new challenges for treatment.
“Different therapies we have originally set out and developed earlier on in the pandemic. These variants are able to evade in some ways,” he said.

However, the symptoms are the same including things like fever, loss of smell, taste, and fatigue among others.

“It’s just with these variants they’re becoming more infectious so this is why vaccinations are very important. If these variants don’t have a place to replicate in a body by having antibodies. These are less likely transmitted person to person,” he said.

Dr. Entler says the vaccine gives your body a better chance of fighting the virus.
“With the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccine, it’s a little closer to 90%, 88 to 90% and the Johnson and Johnson it’s a little less as well but again very effective at prevention of getting severely ill from getting covid-19 from one of these variants,” he said.

While there are no confirmed cases of the delta variant in Ingham ad Barry Eaton counties, health officials say they are monitoring it closely.

Doctors are encouraging everyone to continue to wash your hands often, stay to yourself if you feel sick and if you’re not vaccinated, wear a mask.

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