'Living in the shadow of a COVID-19 volcano:' health official warns likelihood of eruption in virus cases

Health officials warn an eruption of COVID-19 cases are most likely on the way due to a more contagious variant of the coronavirus.

Friday, Dr. Jeff Duchin with Public Health Seattle-King County warned the community of the concern of how a rise in COVID-19 cases is on the horizon.

"Right now, we are also living in the shadow of a COVID-19 volcano. And we need to expect the coronavirus-equivalence of a Mount Saint Helens-like eruption in the next few months," said Duchin.

He says this strain is much more contagious and it could lead to overcrowding in hospitals and more deaths.

"We should expect the variants strains to become widespread here and that will make the outbreak harder for us to control. But we have the advantage of early warning to help us prepare, "said Duchin.

He says preparing means taking a fresh look at how to do better to take precautions. That means making sure to wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands. Duchin says the vaccine cannot be our only defense.

"Vaccines are a light at the end of this tunnel, but the tunnel has gotten a bit longer and we are still in it," he said

For folks like Bill Tarady, who has already received the vaccine, he says he still plans to be as safe as possible.

"I’m cautious by nature, and I’m going to remain cautious just because there is so much about this variant that we don know," he said.