New COVID-19 variant on the rise

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — We’re not out of the clear yet. A new variant of the Covid-19 virus is on the rise in Champaign County.

The B117 variant is more contagious and more deadly than the original strain of coronavirus we saw last year, according to CUPHD.

It was first discovered in the United Kingdom, but it has now made its way to Central Illinois.

About half of the positive Covid cases in Champaign County are the B117 variant.

The Health Department said prevention for this strain is the same: social distancing, mask wearing, and of course, getting vaccinated. CUPHD’s Brandon Meline said, “B-117 seems to be pretty stable as far as the vaccine that we’re all getting right now with the original strain. The antibodies that are produced through the vaccination are attacking that virus pretty effectively and preventing disease.”

Meline also said that the more people that get vaccinated, the less likely it is for the virus to mutate again.

Right now, more people want their shots than the CUPHD supply allows for, but Meline said they’re hopeful that every person who wants the vaccine can get it by Memorial Day.

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