by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – In two years, over 382 million people globally have been infected with the COVID-19 virus, resulting in more than 5 million deaths. St.Kitts and Nevis has contributed 37 deaths to that toll.
Speaking at the COVID-19 Press Briefing on Wednesday, February 2, 2022, Dr Cameron Wilkinson, Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N France General Hospital said, the longer the virus stays around, scientists expect more mutations.
Having heard of variants such as Alpha, Gamma, Lambda and Delta, the highly transmissible Omicron variant very quickly became the dominant strain globally. Though the Omicron variant is associated with less severe disease, Wilkinson said, people tend to take the infection it causes lightly and has warned that though the disease may be less severe, it does not mean that the disease will be mild.
“Please remember that less severe disease does not mean mild disease. It can still cause severe disease and “long COVID” as well as putting a strain on the workforce, particularly the healthcare workforce, the supply chain, and local and global economies.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation declared that there is a new Coronavirus variant and Dr Wilkinson said, it’s only a matter of time until it reaches the Federation.
“There is now the new Omicron sub-variant known as BA 2 which is 1.5 times more transmissible than the original Omicron strain. Nearly half of US states have confirmed the presence of BA 2. This means it’s only a matter of time before the new sub-variant reaches our shores. The good news is that BA 2 is so far, not associated with more severe disease and the vaccines still appear to be effective against symptomatic infection.”
As the virus continues to mutate and new variants form, Dr. Wilkinson explained that the best preventive measures and the path to near normalcy is being vaccinated with a booster for adults 18 years and over, wearing high quality medical-grade masks, social distancing and getting tested before gathering with those outside your household.