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Dr. Stephanie Silvera Comments on COVID-19 Variants for

Posted in: College News and Events, Public Health

New Jersey state officials know at least 50 people have been infected with a variant of the coronavirus in the state, a strain that appears to be more transmissible – and more deadly. However, they don’t know how many other people across New Jersey could be spreading this more dangerous variant.

Dr. Stephanie Silvera, Professor in the Public Health Department, noted: “It’s really, at this point, hard to know when we don’t have the data to support it. Those numbers are likely higher” than what’s been reported. She added, “We’re opening up indoor dining and increasing capacity, so the variant in the state is concerning. And if we are letting our guard down, it can quickly become the dominant strain.”

Each day brings reports of more coronavirus variants being detected across the country. But health experts say the instructions for the public remain the same: wear masks and stay away from people. With vaccine access expanding, the variants could still be held in check.

“If we can encourage people to just stick with it a little bit longer,” Dr. Silvera said. “We’re going into one full year now. But if we can get through the next few months and really ramp up the vaccine process, the new variants aren’t going to be as much of a concern because we’ll have gotten it under control.”