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Health Officials Identify United Kingdom COVID-19 Strain In Indiana

By Lauren Chapman, IPB News | Published on in Health, Science
So far, the vaccines still seem effective against the new strain of the virus. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)
So far, the vaccines still seem effective against the new strain of the virus. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

The Indiana Department of Health announced Monday a new strain of COVID-19 – which had previously been identified in the United Kingdom – is also in Indiana.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said the new strain appears to be more easily spread, but it does not appear to be more deadly.

“It’s more important than ever that Hoosiers continue to wear their masks, practice social distancing, maintain good hygiene and get vaccinated when they are eligible,” Box said in a statement.

READ MORE: How Will Indiana Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines? Here’s What You Need To Know

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Thomas Duszynski is an epidemiologist at IUPUI’s Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. He told the statewide talk show All IN more cases often lead to an increase in severity.

“As the number of cases increases, we’re going to see more hospitalizations, we’re going to see more severe disease … and then unfortunately, increased mortality from this new strain,” he said.

He said that’s just what viruses do – they adapt to their environment and mutate. So far, the vaccines still seem to work.

“Meaning that the vaccine appears to be just as effective against these strains as it does the other strains that are currently circling in the U.S. as well,” Duszynski said.

Duszynski said there’s also a South African mutation experts are watching for as well.

All IN’s Drew Daudelin contributed to this story.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.