NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The new mutation of COVD-19 detected this week in Colorado and California, after first being discovered in the United Kingdom, isn’t making people any sicker. But it does appear to spread more quickly and more easily, which means more people could become sick.

“Our fear is January is going to be a surge on top of a surge, and January could be much worse than December,” said DFW Hospital Council CEO Steve Love.

According to Love, hospitals have already been preparing for the record number of patients they’re seeing to keep climbing as a result of gatherings over Christmas and New Year’s.

The appearance of a more infection variant of COVID could make the situation even worse. “I think the next 30 to 60 days are going to be very difficult,” he said.

The hospital council reports that on Wednesday Dallas County had just 14 staffed ICU beds available. Tarrant County had 13 and surrounding counties, even fewer.

“It [COVID mutant strain] doesn’t have any magic powers, doesn’t fly faster, jump farther, or go through masks,” said Parkland Hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr. Joseph Chang.

The same methods used to prevent COVID-19 for months, he says, can be used to protect against it now in this latest variation.

The vaccines being developed and distributed should work against it, too. As it stands Dr. Chang says, “We have full confidence the vaccine will work against any variant we’ve seen.”

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