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How concerned should Upper Michigan be about the COVID-19 variant?

The medical director for most U.P. counties, Dr. Bob Lorinser, says this new variant is not more deadly and it’s still unclear if it is more contagious.
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 7:03 PM EST
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UPPER MICHIGAN, Mich. (WLUC) - The state’s first case of a COVID-19 variant has been detected in lower Michigan.

The medical director for most U.P. counties, Dr. Bob Lorinser, says this new variant is not more deadly and it’s still unclear if it is more contagious.

“The data is not in yet so let’s hope it is not going to be as bad as increased transmission,” said Dr. Lorinser.

The doctor says at this point, it appears that current vaccines will work against the United Kingdom, or B.1.1.7, variant.

“The data so far, see how I say that, the data so far says that this variant is still susceptible to the vaccine,” said Dr. Lorinser.

The doctor also says current coronavirus precautions should be taken against the variant.

“We can’t be paralyzed,” said Dr. Lorinser. “The public cannot be paralyzed about concerns. Honestly, it has not changed my behavior at all.”

The doctor also noting that variants from viruses are common and that Upper Michigan already has several common variants.

This as a vaccine rollout continues across the region.

“Our goal is we get the vaccine, within the week we will give the vaccine in the arm,” said Dr. Lorinser. “A very, very simply goal. We get, we give it.”

At this time the doctor says all vaccines in Marquette County have either been given, or are scheduled to be given.

Lorinser says there is still more demand than vaccine.

This week, over 10,000 people in Marquette County became eligible for the vaccine and only 1,800 vaccinations were available.

“It is a free for all,” said Lorinser. “It’s a lotto. It’s like buying a lotto ticket.”

The Marquette County Health Department is currently working on a new registration program.

According to Lorinser, the new variant has already been found in at least 22 states.

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