Although it is expected that there will be mutation in the viruses, there is “concern” in the medical sector about the variants that have been identified in Puerto Rico, the most recent one of the California type.
“There is a concern that this could get out of control. We have been able to handle the matter, but Puerto Rico’s health system has always been fragile, ”he told THE SPOKESMAN Víctor Ramos, president of the College of Surgeons. “We are concerned that a variant could be a ‘boom’ that we cannot handle,” he warned.
“The one in Brazil tends to be more dangerous. Also those in New York and South Africa, but we have another in California that is dangerous and there is talk that it could lower the effectiveness of vaccines (against covid-19), ”explained the pediatrician.
Yesterday, the Department of Health reported the detection of a variant of the California type, which – despite the similarity – is classified individually. The fourth California variant has been identified as B.1.427.
Although Ramos made the distinction yesterday about a “more dangerous” Californian variant that has not been detected in Puerto Rico, the Health data does not provide information about it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are two Californian variants, classified as B.1.143.
Other variants registered on the island are the British and the Brazilian. Until yesterday, the total number of infections with the variants amounted to 28.
On alert for outbreaks
Health management does not end with the detection of the variants. Ramos pointed out that “the problem with these mutations is when they become the main circulator. Outbreaks have been seen probably because of this ”.
“We were down from December to mid-March … we see that the strain, the original variant, is no longer so aggressive. But now we have seen an increase in cases, “he said.
The Scientific Coalition that advises the governor on the issue of covid-19 has already raised a flag on the provisions of the current executive order and have recommended, among other things, limiting groups inside restaurants and closed places.
“We are meeting later in the week. The decision is up to the governor, ”Ramos conceded. However, he announced that the scientific sector is inclined to adopt measures that are more restrictive.
Yesterday the Secretary of the Interior, Noelia García, confirmed in a press conference that the governor will present the new executive order “before the weekend.” The current executive order expires Monday.
Salud reported in its report yesterday that the accumulated number of cases due to covid-19 amounts to 209,896 and that the number of deaths – between confirmed and probable – reaches 2,136 people since the pandemic began in March 2020 on the Island.
The epidemiologist José López de Victoria, for his part, is concerned that the vaccines developed to combat the pandemic were worked for a specific strain, so it is unknown in the future how effective the drugs may have with the emergence of more variants .
“Although we already have the vaccination tool, we are in a race with these variants. While people continue to be vaccinated, we eliminate the possibility that the virus continues to replicate ”, highlighted the expert, who is part of the Municipal System for Investigation of Cases and Tracking of Contacts (Smicrc).
“But we have not seen the long-term effects of how or how much these vaccines protect us against their variants,” he said.
Maricarmen Rivera Sánchez contributed to this story.