Can we get through the rest of 2020 without any more bad news? Apparently not. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, health officials are warning that a mutation of the virus has led to an even more contagious strain. Some are even worried it's not being stopped by masks and hand washing.

According to a story reported on by Western Mass News, COVID-19 is proving more and more resilient as time passes. That’s according to a recent study as researchers in Houston claim the virus has become more contagious.

UMass microbiologist Dr. Erika Hamilton says, "What researchers have found is that there is a very specific mutation that’s been showing up a lot in certain areas of the world.  One area has been Texas and this particular strain of COVID, that has this mutation, seems to be able to infect more easily."

According to Hamilton, the fear that this new strain could pass through barriers like mask and hand washing more easily, is not necessarily well-founded.

She explains, "It’s not going to stick to our hands more, it’s not going to work its way through the fabric of our masks, but if you do happen to get it in your nose...it will be better at grabbing onto the inside of your nose and holding on."

Taking a closer look at the actual virus, Hamilton says that the spikes are how it’s able to stick to our cells and in this mutation, it seems the spikes have become stronger.

Are you ready for some good news? Although this new strain is more contagious, it is not more deadly. Often times, symptoms are even less.

Hamilton continued, "It’s not causing more significant infections, which is a good thing. It’s not more dangerous than other strains, but it’s easier to spread to other people."

She added that it’s also important to note that this study has yet to go through the process of being peer-reviewed.

For more on this story, check out Western Mass News' website here and we thank them for the update.

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