New COVID-19 variant: Should you be concerned?

Dr. John Brownstein said the new COVID-19 mutation is “likely already here in the U.S.” and could allow the virus to spread faster, but there’s no evidence it is more lethal.
5:49 | 12/22/20

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Transcript for New COVID-19 variant: Should you be concerned?
ABC news contributor doctor John Brownstein joins us now thank you so much for your time doctor Brownstein. Major this variant of the virus is stoking some alarm with some countries temporarily blocking traveled from the UK but so far experts are saying it's no more lethal or transmissible than the current strain. So what are we need to now. Yeah I mean aren't such immediate such optimism with the vaccine now we're dealing with this new area and there are some cause for concern. It's reasons why scientists are sort of concerned about this this particular one this version is replacing rocket every other person to the virus and teen its rocket. Increasing cases in some regions. England. Is Gary has the teachers to teach at eighteen teachers which is a lot for appearance that we've seen historically. An error on the part of the virus despite protein that is entered. Net ease that is used for entry into the cells so yeah. Teach kids potentially are creating increased its disability to ours but there's a minute or cock that's why. BC appearance like this merger all the time and the data is there early and so it could be honest with our these are increased mobility and and in travel and so needy were just seen artifacts and dia. And there's new evidence that this virus is more lethal armed so should. Are also concerns that you're this virus is gonna cost real problem. It still adds to the growing body of knowledge of how of these viruses and he supports our basic public health measures like social distancing scored. I think the question on everyone's mind you mentioned the good news about the vaccine so could this impact the efficacy of the vaccines that have now been deployed it in any way. So so far scientists don't believe so I think it takes years for these mutations to build up enough weight that it would happen impact on the vaccine. I like monoclonal antibodies. Vaccines may actually what we call publicly antibody response and that means that there are multiple ways that the vaccine can protect so. A few occasions of the virus will not impact the ability for the vaccine cheaper prevent you from getting severe Kobe does. The bigger concern is route we call antigen a draft. And this is the change in the arts for in this is what the flu virus is under growth which means beautiful in new flu virus every vaccine every year and so what we're thinking more as long term needs of vaccines that we meet it changed its vaccine over time but the concern immediately over the existing vaccines are just not there and we should be proceeding as we have been thinking that we're gonna really happen impact on this are with tax. H the coming months. Should we be concerned at all that there are still flights coming in from the UK or is the risk no greater than it was before. All this is a tough one because of course the more people that are coming in that are potentially affected. Our I think tidbit sort of the numbers of peace is growing here in this country now. This Daryn it has been actually circulated for months so let me it's are here in the US so much. Probably wouldn't you very much at this point or we should be doing really is testing right testing before cable and claims testing in people riot quarantining those warrants for policies that could be incredibly helpful right now and we just haven't implemented as a country those are things we can you immediately New York is starting to do that's I think it's something as a country we need to be doing right now. Of course the busy holiday season is now upon us so many Americans are making this difficult decision about when how it's to see their families these holidays. What is your message to anyone thinking about traveling. Right so we're seeing a surge that happened post Thanksgiving and receive an idea which is really. Tough to see right the numbers of deaths and hospitalizations that record highs. That was a surge on top of asserts now yet Christmas trouble which is more people toppling over a longer period of time. RBC it's urgent surgery and searched and hostile substance just handle that capacity for our senior overwhelmed in many parts. This country so what can we do of course if we can steam within your proposal don't Strobl really try to limit your mobility in your interactions with others there is I don't at the end of the tunnel so what are we can do now will be so helpful to get through this and. Back now to the vaccine so many are talking about this president elect Joseph Biden received Pfizer's vaccine today. And tomorrow doctor felt she is pleaded to receive Madeira has vaccine. How important is hitting your opinion for boosting public trots to CDs officials. Getting their vaccine. Yeah I think it's so important first call. How do you see and how he federal leadership is actually critical so I think it's great that they're getting the vaccine but on top of that. It's all about instilling public confidence. Our research has shown hesitancy is widespread yeah large parts of the population there just unwilling to get this vaccine no matter how much food research has been done since seeing these important public figures. Getting the vaccine really is all about boosting trust in science. I don't you know because we need that her community said the 80% of the population getting immunized if for half a real mature impact on the course of the pandemic. With our doctor actually get vaccinated today finally if you weren't biting your patients on a vaccine and they have a choice between spies or Orman Daryn is there one that's preferable in your ice. Right so it's a great question a lot of people asking you this question. I would say whichever one is available to you you should K because you're not necessarily half choice I'll just say that the vaccines are incredibly similar 94% effective some are seeking profiles the existing delivery at an army and they're here is similar across genders and race unsafe you have access to the vaccine and it's your turn you should drop it. Always providing insight doctor Brownstein happy holidays my friend. You to thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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