APIC Issues Statement on New COVID-19 Strain

Connie Steed, MSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC, 2020 president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), urges the public to continue practicing the infection control measures we know are effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, no matter what strain of the virus is circulating.

"With reports that a new variant of COVID-19 is infecting people in Europe, Americans may be worried about how to protect themselves," Steed says. "The nation’s infection preventionists want the public to know that they should continue to wear face masks, practice social distancing, get a flu shot, and wash their hands frequently. These steps are effective in stopping the spread of infection regardless of the strain currently in circulation. Because the virus spreads via droplets that are expelled from the respiratory tract when we talk, cough, and breathe, wearing face masks and staying 6 feet away from each other are the best ways to prevent the spread of this disease. And because the new strain of COVID-19 appears to be highly transmissible, following these practices is more important than ever."

APIC also urges families to follow the advice of health officials and limit holiday gatherings to immediate household members. We know this is hard to do but a virtual gathering this year gives us a better chance of seeing everyone around the table next year.

"Until the new COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, it is imperative that we all do what we can to prevent illness," Steed adds. "This is especially critical given that many, if not most, U.S. hospitals are stretched beyond capacity."

APIC is asking the public to take the #PreventTheSpread pledge to continue masking and social distancing — even after being vaccinated. Until enough people have received the required vaccine doses, we cannot risk spreading COVID-19 in our communities. Please do your part to keep us all safe: wear your face mask, practice social distancing, get a flu shot, and clean your hands frequently. Visit www.infectionpreventionandyou.org for more information.

Source: Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)

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