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New COVID variant emerges leading health care leaders to stress the importance of vaccinations

Posted at 7:31 PM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-26 20:31:12-05

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) - A new variant of COVID-19 has been discovered in South Africa and the World Health Organization is calling it a "variant of concern," with the possibility of increased risk of being more transmissible compared to other variants."What you do can really matter and be meaningful to the health of our entire community," says Dr. Burmeister encouraging the community to sign up for vaccinations.

"It's something that emerged in South Africa and seems to be spreading at a reasonably rapid rate in the sense that when they do test positivity, they see it a bit more widespread in South Africa than it was originally detected just a couple of days ago," said Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday morning.

Doctor Fauci was careful not to sound the alarm on Friday and local health care leaders are following suit. But they're also cautiously aware of just how fast variants can travel across the globe like the Delta variant first discovered in the U.S. back in May.

"The variant was already widespread when we were asked when it was going to show up in our community," says Dr. Brad Burmeister a Physician at Bellin Health.

Dr. Burmeister says more research needs to be conducted to truly understand this new variant. But what is known is that the COVID-19 virus is constantly mutating and this modification of it has more mutations than any version of the virus discovered so far. That's what makes the newest variant a. concern, a concern that potentially could have been thwarted if more people across the globe had been vaccinated.

"The more people that are infected the more the virus has an opportunity to have little genetic changes in it. So we need our community's help to get vaccinated," adds Dr. Burmeister.

And while it could be days, weeks, or months until the latest variant is discovered in the U.S. one thing is for certain, variants like it will continue emerging especially in pockets of unvaccinated populations.