During a January 2021 TAL Global international conference call, British team member Andy Davis discussed how the new strain of COVID, a potentially more infectious variant of the corona virus, is sweeping the U.K. The strain was first detected in the U.K. toward the end of 2020. As of January 2021, it has been detected in 33 countries, including four states in the U.S.
“This is serious,” says Davis, a former diplomatic for the British government, with key assignments in global hot spots such as East Africa, Colombia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.
“It’s like a river flowing through the country, gushing over just about everyone in sight. We need to make sure our clients know [that] following in its path are several risk and security issues that can impact their organizations.”
Before we explore those security issues, let’s get a better understanding of this new variant and compare it to the original strain of the corona virus. Here are some of the things we need to know:
When was the new strain of COVID discovered?
As referenced earlier, Public Health England officially reported the new strain on December 20, 2020.
How does it differ from the original strain of the COVID virus?
A virus can mutate (transform), and this mutation seems to be more easily transmitted than the original form of the virus. Some people had natural immunities that prevented them from getting the original form of the virus. However, with this mutation, they are more likely to get infected.
How did it get to the United States?
That is the great mystery. For instance, some of the new cases are among people that have no recent travel history, within the U.S., U.K., or internationally. “The lack of travel history is an indicator that the new form of the virus is circulating among the community,” reports Dr. Kristian Anderson, a San Diego infectious disease expert. This means, very simply, that it is here, and that is our key concern.
Does it make people sicker? Cause more deaths?
Right now, its impact on health is about the same as the original strain. According to a U.K. government report, “compared to patients infected with the new variant to those with the predominant strain, [we] found no statistically significant differences in severity of illness, deaths or reinfection.”
Will the new vaccines protect us from this new strain of COVID?
According to infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, the variant “doesn’t seem to evade the protection that’s afforded by the antibodies that are induced by [Pfizer and Moderna] vaccines.”
With a better understanding of this new variant, how can it and the current strain of the virus negatively impact corporate security and increase risk? According to Davis, there are unfortunately many ways, but at the top of the list, what he calls “the critical concern,” is business continuity.
Businesses are now genuinely concerned about staying viable and this includes protecting [the health of] their corporate executives and staff, whether they are working in corporate facilities or at home, along with their facilities.
Businesses need to stay one step ahead of the virus [and] the best way to accomplish this is to have a risk assessment completed. This helps corporate executives detect potential risks they might not be aware of but that may be right around the corner.
Davis adds that businesses are being challenged right now by a foe unlike any ever encountered before. “Everyone is being impacted, but there are steps businesses can take to minimize this impact. This way, they will come out stronger once this pandemic is long gone.”
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