‘Be ever more vigilant’: Local health experts warn not to let guard down as COVID-19 cases rise

MADISON, Wis.– Scientists are studying a new strain of coronavirus that Dr. Anthony Fauci warns could be more contagious, according to an interview with The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Scientists are in the process of confirming a mutation that could have caused the virus to spread more easily from person to person, without necessarily resulting in worse outcomes.

UW Health Medical Director of Infection Control Dr. Nasia Safdar said testing would tell us if that strain is infecting our population.

“While it does appear to be the dominant strain worldwide, we don’t know exactly what proportion in our population is caused by the new strain versus the other,” Safdar said.

With now more than 30,000 cases statewide, Safdar said the virus is good at its job, and regarless of the strain, people need to keep their guard up.

“I think this virus has evolved to be very successful at what it’s supposed to do, which is cause a pandemic,” Safdar said. “We should be more vigilant about the physical distancing and the masking now knowing what we know.”

Safdar said these simple interventions could be the best tool in fighting the virus until a vaccine is created.