By Raetta Holdman

(CBS4) – Colorado is seeing more cases of the India variant in COVID-19 cases. CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida discussed why that’s concerning and what it means for vaccine distribution during his weekly question and answer session on CBSN Denver.

The first cases were reported in Mesa County and Hnida conceded the variant’s arrival is a bit scarier than that of some others.

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“The India variant is actually a variant that is a double mutated strain, which really sounds frightening,” he said. Hnida explained it is a combination of the California variant as well as the South African variant.

“Fortunately that does not make it any deadlier than any of the other variants that are out there,” Hinda said, “But it is more contagious.”

He said health officials believe it is in other areas of the state, and that’s concerning in areas where vaccination levels are low.

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“That really is the key here. This is a more contagious strain. We do know that this strain, as well as other mutated variations, do respond to vaccinations. The key point here is when you look at vaccinations, if you do not get a vaccine, you are unprotected.”

Hnida said that raises concerns about how you keep variants and mutated strains under control in the effort to get the virus out of the community.

“That’s why getting vaccinations done (is key) especially in younger age groups, because it is young adults who are really driving infections at this point in time.”

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“I think we really need to get more folks vaccinated. And I think that we can begin to look forward to a little bit more freedom in terms of our activity and what we can do safely.”

Raetta Holdman