State of Michigan medical and health experts say they have a handle on it but so far that’s about all.  They’re referring to a new variant of the COVID-19 virus which has been confirmed from a growing number of tests from around the state. So far at least 17 tests are revealing the variant. It’s labeled B.1.1.7. That's a lot harder to voice than COVID-19.

The Michigan Health and Human Services Department has issued a public release indicating, “B.1.1.7 spreads more easily between people, but there has been no indication that it affects the clinical outcomes or disease severity compared to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has been circulating across the United States for months. The new variant is present in Michigan and we are at risk of seeing more spread of COVID-19.”

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The discovery of the virus variant in Michigan is adding more emphasis to the standard recommended health precautions of masking up, hand washing, and social distancing. But we should note that these public releases are happening at a time when Governor Gretchen Whitmer is also saying it is OK for restaurants and some entertainment venues to reopen across the state, albeit with restrictions on the total number of people allowed inside those businesses.

The state health department says the new variant is proven to be able to spread without issues between people. But department scientists say there are no indications that anyone who contracts the variant will be any worse off than the original version of the virus. Current evidence available to state medical experts shows that tests and vaccines for COVID-19 are also effective against the new variant.

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