BALTIMORE — COVID-19 variants have appeared in 37 countries, including the United States. Experts say they're possibly more transmissible and deadly.
So, what does this mean for testing, vaccines, and reaching herd immunity?
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health held a COVID-19 briefing Thursday to discussing COVID-19 variants.
Doctors say it's normal for viruses to mutate. They also say diagnostic tests still work and that they're encouraged that the vaccines with FDA approval continue to be effective.
They want everyone to remember even though they’re vaccinated, they can still be infected and transmit the virus.
"It doesn’t prevent you from being infected, but it does appear that viral load that people have, the amount of virus that you would expect on your body if you were to encounter the virus is much less,” said Immunologist Dr. Gigi Gronvall. “Those studies are coming out that you're seeing a lot less virus of vaccinated people in their nose, and if its less virus in the nose, then it's less virus that goes out of people's noses into the air and for other people to breathe."
To lessen the likelihood of more variants emerging doctors say the first step is to control case numbers.