A mutated strain of the CCP virus, known as the UK coronavirus strain, has spread into at least eight states in the U.S. — Colorado, New York, Florida, Georgia, California, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Texas.
In total, there are at least 52 CCP Virus patients in the country who have contracted the mutated UK strain. California alone has half of them. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that the 52 cases represent only those who have been diagnosed by hospitals. The actual number of people carrying the strain may be far greater.
The variant virus has been found in people with no recent travel history
In New York, the variant was found in a man with no travel history. Governor Andrew Cuomo noted that since the person has not traveled, it would suggest that the virus is already spreading within the community. “From a public health point of view now it’s about contact tracing, and this UK strain is reported to be 70 percent more contagious than the normal COVID strain… So, we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to do effective contact tracing on this case,” Cuomo said in a statement.
In Connecticut, two cases of infections were discovered in people who had traveled to New York and Ireland, but in Texas, the strain was found in a man who, again, had not traveled recently.
According to the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no evidence that the UK strain increases the severity of infection or raises the chance of death. They are confident that the vaccines currently distributed will remain effective against it. The CDC noted that variants will have to accumulate several mutations in their spike proteins before the current vaccine becomes ineffective.
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The problem is, its more highly transmissible nature will trigger a speedy rise in the number of infections. This will put additional strain on an already burdened healthcare system. According to estimates, almost 1 percent of all infections in the United States are believed to be from the UK strain. But by March, the new variant will be responsible for the majority of infections. At present, the UK variant is spreading in at least 33 nations.
Gladys Berejiklian, the premier of New South Wales in Australia, says that mutated versions of the CCP Virus, like those from the UK and South Africa, are here to stay and will soon become dominant strains in the world due to their high rate of transmission.
The UK faces challenges in dealing with the new variant as the daily number of cases is now hovering around 60,000. The South African strain is said to be responsible for the surge in coronavirus cases in South Africa as well as Zambia. A new virus strain from Nigeria has been reported as well, but it has not been officially confirmed.
Meanwhile, some reports circulating online suggest that a U.S. variant of the CCP Virus might have emerged. The White House Coronavirus Task Force has admitted to the possibility. However, the CDC dismisses such a scenario.
“Researchers have been monitoring U.S. strains since the pandemic began, including 5,700 samples collected in November and December… To date, neither researchers nor analysts at CDC have seen the emergence of a particular variant in the United States as has been seen with the emergence of B.1.1.7 in the United Kingdom or B.1.351 in South Africa,” a spokesperson from the CDC said to news outlets.