COVID-19 variants will keep coming until we can slow transmission of virus

You may want to brush up on your Greek letters. This cycle, of going from one COVID-19 variant to the next, is likely not going anywhere anytime soon, says Dr. Michael Teng, a public health expert from USF.  

It's important to remember, he says: COVID is a global problem, with fires and hotspots burning around the world. 

"We keep seeing more variants because there's pretty much uncontrolled transmission in certain parts of the world," Dr. Teng explained. 

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The delta variant for example, was first identified in India.  Omicron was first spotted in South Africa. 

Chances are, new variants are still forming and maybe weeks or months away from spreading. 

"Every time we see the variants now, they're coming out with a huge set of mutations. We have to figure out where they're coming from," Teng said.  "We’re seeing 1,000 people die a day in the U.S., still mostly delta. It is a problem and it is not going away if we wish it to go away or not." 

Which, he says, is part of the reason why it's just too soon to start "living with the virus," the way we do with the flu or a common cold.  That, he says, will come – but not yet. 

"Until we're able to control transmission of the virus, we're not going to see this kind of more easy to deal with ebb and flow," he added. 

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