But what is a virus strain?
A new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 occurs when the virus spreads so many times from one person to another that the virus changes its genetic structure and mutates. This is a very common process in viruses and bacteria they adapt themselves to their new host.
This is not different in the case of the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. Since the global pandemic, this virus easily spread to millions of people and is still spreading around like wildfire. For the virus to survive in all regions around the world, it needs to mutate. Although some of the mutations are insignificant, some cause concern for the scientists who classify these mutations as VOC, which stands for “Variant of Concern”. These variants are more contagious compared to the original Wuhan strain and also affect children.
There are currently two variants of concern circulating in Aruba, the British strain and the Brazilian strain. According to the scientists, both strains are more contagious compared to the strain from Wuhan, and the Brazilian strain is even more. These strains may cause new outbreaks and more deaths in cities and areas where the vast majority of people do not yet have resistance against the virus. Looking back at the situation in Aruba, the current prevalence is only 6,5% of the population. This means that the vast majority of the population is still vulnerable to the virus. It is essential to keep practicing the safety protocols and to be extra cautious now that we have the 2 new strains, as these may lead to potential new outbreaks in Aruba.
Persons in isolation and quarantine should duly comply with the instructions of the authorities for their protection and of others. The first symptoms are sore or dry throat, fever, runny nose, or fatigue. If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, please contact your family physician immediately to schedule a test. Early testing can prevent any further spreading of the virus at home or work. It is also very important to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The sooner more of the population is vaccinated, the sooner the chain of infection is broken and fewer people will become infected and ill and Aruba can start to recover. The DVG will closely monitor the situation of these new strains.