Deaconess doctor talks COVID-19 variants

Deaconess doctor talks COVID-19 variants

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The United States restricts travel from India this week as the country battles a massive COVID-19 variant outbreak.

We’re hearing from local medical professionals about the chances of variants like this appearing in our region.

Dr. Gina Huhnke, the Director of the Emergency Department at Deaconess Hospital says, as of right now, there are no cases of the India variant in our region.

From what we know so far about that variant, Dr. Huhnke says not having as much access to the vaccine and having large numbers of people together increases the chances of producing the COVID-19 variant.

“Obviously, we are seeing some variants in our region. About 70 percent in our region are the UK variant right now. But the vaccine is still effective. And also, just decreasing the number of cases in our community, decreases the risk of variations, decreases the chance that the virus is out there and able to mutate. So we’re definitely encouraging everyone to get vaccinated,” Dr. Huhnke said.

President Joe Biden banned most travel to the U.S. from India, and Dr. Huhnke says it’s the safest decision when there are large outbreaks anywhere.

”So this happens with influenza every single year. It’s something that we are accustomed to and don’t really think much about. That’s why we change the flu shot every year. We change it just slightly to make it more effective against the variant that we think is going to occur in our region. That will probably occur with the COVID vaccination as well, but right now, we are seeing that the variants that are out there are responding to the antibodies that are built up with our current vaccination,” Dr. Huhnke explained.

With that explanation, Dr. Huhnke stressed that getting vaccinated is the best way to lower the chances of any variants here in our region and even just lower the cases of COVID-19 in general.

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