Fact Check: Is COVID mutating to be weaker, or stronger?

WHECTV
Created: February 09, 2021 06:14 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y.(WHEC)— We have a Fact Check about those new coronavirus variants, and the science is pretty simple: viruses are always changing or mutating.

In some cases, they may give the virus a survival advantage, making it more contagious-- or more resistant to treatments or vaccines. But sometimes mutations are meaningless, and some mutations can actually make viruses weaker.  With new variants of COVID like the U.K. and South African strain -- is there any evidence that COVID is adapting to become a more or less dangerous strain?

Infectious Disease Specialist Doctor Anthony Fauci says initial data on the U.K. strain showed it having "a degree" of increased virulence, which means severity or harmfulness. But, Fauci cautions that data is questionable because it still needs to be confirmed.

"But thus far there is no evidence that it is less virulent," Fauci said. "Sometimes when viruses mutate to spread more efficiently they become less virulent, but we do not have any data to indicate that that is, in fact, happening with [the coronavirus]."

So, at this point - there isn't any data showing the virus is weakening or getting more dangerous. Health officials continue to say increasing vaccinations will help stop the virus from mutating either way.

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