The so-called ‘UK variant’ of Covid-19 has now been reported in every state in the US, with more than 15,000 cases of the more transmissible mutation having been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The variant, known as the B.1.1.7 strain, was first detected in south-east England in December 2020, and has since spread quickly across the US due to its highly contagious manner. The strain is believed to be behind an infection surge in America and elsewhere.
Confirmation of the variant’s spread in America comes days after CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned that the variant is now responsible for 26% of all Covid infections in the US, and is the dominant strain in five areas of the country.
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“We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared,” Walensky said.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, reiterated these concerns when speaking to CNN late Monday, warning that “the virus is not done with us.”
Osterholm also warned of the possibility of a fourth wave of infections breaking out in the US if people fail to adhere to health measures amid the race to vaccinate, as the pace of inoculations may not be quick enough match a surge in cases in the coming “six to 10 weeks.”
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Since the start of the pandemic, the US has recorded 30.5 million confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 554,064 fatalities from the virus – the highest toll in the world. So far, 167 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine have been distributed in the country, with over 32% of the population having received at least one shot.
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