Last week, a number of news outlets — both national and local — published reports that a new, more easily transmitted version of the coronavirus had been uncovered in the U.S.
But, the New York Times says that reporting is innacurate. The coverage was based on speculative statements from Dr. Deborah Birx of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the CDC has since disputed those claims.
Coronavirus variants are not new, and scientists have been monitoring them since the pandemic began. According to Dr. David O’Connor, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the UW Medical Foundation, few actually pose any increased risk.
But, the misinformation can have long-lasting impacts on people’s trust in public health scientists.
For more, WORT producer Jonah Chester spoke with O’Connor earlier today.