COVID-19: ‘One person infected with a variant can infect about nine others’
As the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths continues to climb, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony has warned that an individual who is infected with a variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, can infect about another nine people.
Earlier in the week, he opined that Guyana was experiencing a “delta surge”, assuming that the Delta variant of COVID-19 was in Guyana.
This specific variant has been contributing to increasing COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths across the world. It is a mutated strain of COVD-19, and this means that it is different from the earlier novel coronavirus that began spreading around the world.
“If we are in a delta surge, the delta variant is more infectious (and) that means that it would be transmitted faster,” Dr. Anthony said on Friday during his daily COVID-19 update.
He later added, “For every one person infected with the variant, they can infect about nine others, so unless people are taking precautions, then what we’ll see is we’ll see more and more people becoming infected.”
For the month of September, so far, the Ministry of Health has reported seven COVID-19 deaths. For the past week, there have been 23 deaths reported. Meanwhile, the Health Minister said that there are currently 2,052 active COVID-19 cases in Guyana.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the delta variant of the coronavirus may become the most prevalent form of COVID-19 globally, but Guyana has not been able to definitively confirm the presence of variants since only 10 samples were ever sent for testing to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago.
When questioned about the testing for variants recently, Dr. Anthony answered, “It doesn’t make much of a difference, all that would tell us is that we have Delta but nothing else.”
Asked about the rationale behind the pause in sending COVID-19 samples to CARPHA to test for variants, his simple response was: “It is what it is.”
On Monday, during his COVID-19 update, Dr Anthony explained that the assumption of the Delta variant circulating in Guyana is being made based on the “clinical parameters that we are seeing”
The minister has, however, emphasised that vaccination will help to protect people from experiencing the more severe and life-threatening symptoms associated with COVID-19. So far, a total of 318,569 adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while 166, 763 have received both COVID-19 doses.