TAMPA, Fla. - COVID-19 infections surging in other parts of the world give the virus a chance to mutate, and possibly create strains that current vaccines cannot protect us from, according to health experts.
"The way that we could really beat this thing worldwide is to give the virus as little time as possible to come up with a way of getting around what we've managed to accomplish with the vaccines.," said Dr. Tom Unnasch, the head of global and planetary health at the University of South Florida.
COVID-19 deaths hit a record in India last month. The death count reached 240,000 since the pandemic began.
"It gives the virus a lot of chances to try to try out a lot of different mutations, and now that we're getting more people immune, those mutations are going to run up against immune people, and the ones that can escape that immunity are going to get selected," said Dr. Unnasch.
The more people who get vaccinated across the globe, the less likely mutations will develop, Dr. Unnasch says.
The European Union plans to welcome back fully-vaccinated Americans by this summer.
Flights to Europe from Tampa International Airport are tentatively supposed to start back up. The British Airways flight to London-Gatwick is supposed to resume on June 14, flights to Zurich on Edelweiss are scheduled to return in July, and Lufthansa’s flight to Frankfurt has been pushed to September 30, according to a spokesperson for Tampa International Airport.