Its scientific name is B.1.621, but it goes by Mu.
The COVID-19 variant was identified in January in Colombia. Now, it’s showing up in Brampton.
Health officials in Peel Region said Brampton — already a community facing problems lowering the spread of COVID-19 — has reported 28 cases. They warned residents to take precautionary measures as research into the Mu variant continues.
Some locals, however, remained unaware of the variant and the risks it could present.
When asked if they knew what the Mu variant was, both Jacqueline Fagan and her friend Tiana Bernard, both of Brampton and are fully vaccinated, said they did not.
“With all the madness happening, we are not sure what to believe since everyone is so focused on back-to-school and enjoying the weather,” Fagan said.
Only a low percentage of residents within the region remain unvaccinated as of Sept. 14. Sixty-five per cent of residents are fully vaccinated, and the number increases daily.
“These vaccines protect people from getting infected and severely ill — we do not know how effective the vaccines will be against new variants,” according to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) article. The CDC has been working assiduously in sharing information regarding vaccination and mutation of COVID-19 since its first case broke out.
The World Health Organization has called Mu a variant of interest. The organization has been tracking infection rates and transmissibility of the variant since the first case was reported amid “significant community transmission.”
To date, Mu cases have appeared in both British Columbia and Ontario.
According to a risk assessment performed by the U.K government, the transmission rate is low compared to the Delta variant.
At present, the variant is not of primary concern since the Delta variant continues to affect countries more, according to the World Health Organization.
But to address public concern, Peel Region issued an information bulletin similar to one published on the Delta variant. The region alone reported the highest number of the Delta variant since June.
The City of Brampton continues to enforce its COVID-19 guidelines where indoor events and activities continue to be 50 per cent and outdoor 75 per cent. The city hopes that this policy will aid in limiting the spread of the virus.
Ontario’s recent report on positive COVID-19 cases since the reopening of in-person learning and the start of a new school year shows that 59 out of 610 positive results are from Brampton alone. No Mu variant had been reported in schools.
“I am a bit concerned, but I am vaccinated as well,” said Brampton resident Shaquinne Frazer. “So maybe the Mu won’t be as bad as the Delta variant.”