UK Coronavirus Variant Could Be Dominant in US by March
A new, highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus first discovered in Britain could become the dominant variant in the United States by March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Friday.
The variant, known as B.1.1.7, is believed to be twice as contagious as the current version of the virus in circulation. So far, 76 people from 10 U.S. states have been infected with the U.K. variant.
The highly contagious variant also increases the percentage of the population that needs to be vaccinated to achieve protective herd immunity to control the pandemic, the CDC said.
The variant, which includes several genetic changes, makes the virus more capable of being passed from person to person. The changes are not believed to cause more severe disease, but the higher rate of transmission will mean more cases, and more deaths, the CDC said.
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