The new mutation makes the virus easier to transmit. These are still estimates, but this strain may increase how many other people each sick person transmits to from 1.1 to 1.5 (the R-naught). That’s a very big difference.
The new mutation doesn’t appear to make people any sicker than any other strain of COVID.
Since the new mutation involves changes to the spike protein that vaccines target, it might make vaccines less effective, but we don’t really know yet. It’s more likely the vaccines would need a tweak than that the vaccines would be rendered useless.
I suggest checking out Peter Horby’s Twitter account. He’s one of the leading UK researchers in this area and has been posting some great information on this new strain of COVID.
Whatever the details, what we do remains the same: masks, distancing, wash hands. Everything we’ve done since March. We can do it!