Video: COVID-19 Why it Matters: Part 22, Variants and eased restrictions concern

This video series features UW-Green Bay’s Immunologist Brian Merkel on COVID-19 and Why it Matters. This series empowers viewers with knowledge to help them navigate through the pandemic. Merkel has a Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from the Medical College of Virginia. He is an associate professor in UW-Green Bay’s Human Biology & Biology programs and has an appointment at the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He will be responding to a number of questions related to COVID-19 and try to get behind the “why” it’s important to be educated in your decision-making as we navigate the pandemic together.

Video Transcript-COVID-19 Why it Matters: Part 22, Variants and eased restrictions concern

Hi Brian Merkel, great to be with you, Microbiology and Immunology UW-Green Bay and we are here to talk to you about COVID-19 and why it matters to you.

The variants, this is something that is very important when it comes to COVID-19. We are coming down off of the curve at this time, however, there are a couple things pushing up on the curve to make things worse. That has to do with the loosening of restrictions. That has to do with some of the travel patterns of individuals that we are concerned with because all of these things represent opportunities for more infections. And how that all ties into the variants.

The more opportunities this unstable virus has to infect people. And when it does infect people, we are giving more of it an opportunity to become something else. We are also giving the variants that currently exist an opportunity to become even more dangerous. There are three categories of them. There are variants of interest. Those are the least concerning but still a concern. There’s variants of concern and there’s variants of high consequence, according to the Center for Disease Control.

As of now, we do not have any variants that are variants of high consequence. We don’t want that to change. Variants of high consequence do not respond to vaccines. They do not respond to therapeutics. We don’t want to start all this all over again. Which means we have to continue to immunize. So, there’s a bit of a race.

We want to immunize as many people as possible, so we create high herd immunity to the variants that are here. Where these things still work and the original strain that causes COVID-19. And we want to continue in this fourth-quarter phase of where we are with this pandemic. To continue maintaining our distance, washing our hands, and wearing masks.

We’re all in this together and we’re so close, let’s just continue and finish it.

COVID-19 Why it Matters Video Series:

Introduction with Brian Merkel

Part 1: What are viruses and where did this one come from

Part 2: Two main types of viruses

Part 3: Why is this virus serious?

Part 4: Why wash hands/wear mask?

Part 5: I’m young! Why should I care?

Part 6: Can pandemics be stopped before they start?

Part 7: Pandemic is not local, why wear a mask?

Part 8: Why does everyone need a flu shot this year?

Part 9: What is the science behind a vaccine?

Part 10: Where can I find accurate information?

Part 11: What type of mask should I wear?

Part 12: Why HUGE COVID-19 spikes in Wisconsin?

Part 13: Fall break, protect yourself & others

Part 14: Why is COVID-19 Testing so Important?

Part 15: What are COVID-19 Antibodies?

Part 16: Will the vaccine protect against new COVID-19 variants?

Part 17: Vaccine myths vs reality

Part 18: What is long-hauler syndrome?

Part 19: Spring break, protect yourself against variants

Part 20: Vaccine Side Effects

Part 21: I’m young, why get vaccinated?

Part 22: Variants and eased restrictions concern


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