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Health experts worried about Covid variants spread

By May 1st all 50 states will have expanded Covid-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 years and older. It's happening as Covid-19 variants continue to spread and new variants keep popping up in the race between vaccinations and variants.

From production, to packaging, to planes, to the pavement, and to the people the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is going strong with every state announcing plans to expand vaccine eligibility to people 16 years and older, if they haven't already. But some health experts worry it's creating false hope.

Average new case counts are up more than 16% the past two weeks and the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention reports part of the reason for the rise is because of variants like the one first spotted in the United Kingdom. Epidemiologist, Michael Osterholm, fears that variant will soon be widespread in the U.S.

"It's not long before it is going to sweep across the country", said Osterholm.

hat's because there are still so many questions about the variants.

Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA Vaccines Advisory Committee, said with other variants becoming identified there is still much unknown about them.

"To date we don't know that the variants have completely escaped immunity", said Offit, "Where for example, if you've been naturally infected or immunized you still may be hospitalized or in a ICU or die."

And there are other variants popping up like the one first identified in India that's also been reported in California. Not to mention the variants still to come as viruses mutate over time. But there is a constant among most health professionals, vaccinations are our best bet.

"We either get vaccinated or if we haven't had a chance to get a vaccine yet at least wear a mask and social distance" said Offit.

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NBC News

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