Current COVID-19 wave driven by variants, says Ohio’s top doctor

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said he believes the UK variant of COVID-19 will soon be the dominant source of the virus in the state.

The state’s top doctor discussed the growing concern about COVID-19 variants, especially B117 and the two California strains, during Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s news conference on Thursday.

“As we progress into April, it’s clear that Ohio and the nation are enduring yet another wave of COVID-19. This time it’s being driven by the new variants of the original virus,” Vanderhoff said.

About a third of the cases in the country are B117 or its cousins, according to Vanderhoff. He said the UK variant is more contagious and more deadly.

“Within the next couple weeks, the variant will be the virus that we’re dealing with,” Vanderhoff said.

He added Ohio is better off during this spring surge than the UK was in the winter because of our successful vaccination efforts and our strong track record of masking in public. Vanderhoff said research shows the vaccines are long lasting and hold up well against variants.

“Ohio remains in a very important race against the virus and its variants, but we can win the race as long as we continue to press on,” he said.

Ohio is only able to screen for variants at a limited number of labs and in positives from PCR tests with enough remaining sample.

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