Dr Gordon Down – Infectious Disease Specialist

An infectious disease specialist with the Horizon Health Network says there is no firm evidence indicating the COVID U-K variant is more lethal than the current strain. Dr Gordon Dow says the variant is highly contagious – between 30 and 80 percent more transmissible than the current virus. He says if we get lax with following Public Health guidelines it becomes a numbers game – the more people falling ill the higher – the higher the death rate will climb.

There have been 4 confirmed cases of the U-K variant in the province and Public Health is waiting for results of 40 more tests from the national microbiology lab. Two other variants have also been identified – the African and Brazil variants.

Dow says current information shows the new variants usually overtake the current strain within two to three months. He says if someone has recovered from the current strain of COVID – they have a 15 percent chance of falling ill to it again within six months. But Dow says in some countries one of the new variants has infected people who have recovered from the original strain of COVID.

Dow says our best line of defence at the moment is to continue following basic Public Health guidelines – wear a mask – wash your hands frequently – clean and disinfect surfaces in your home regularly – stay with your “Steady 10” group – and practice physical distancing.

You can watch Dr Dow’s presentation on the variants and his responses to questions here.