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article imageCOVID-19 variant first identified in UK a growing threat in US

By Karen Graham     Mar 20, 2021 in Health
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert, warned that the UK variant of the coronavirus could account for up to 30 percent of infections in the U.S.
The B.1.1.7 variant of the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus was first documented in the United States in late December 2020. Now, "it has been detected in 50 jurisdictions in the United States and likely accounts now for about 20 to 30 percent of the infections in this country," Fauci said at a White House press briefing on Friday. "And that number is growing."
Dr. Fauci also noted that the variant is 50 percent more transmissible, and the likelihood of a more serious infection is possible with this variant, according to The Hill.
“Of concern is that there are about 50 percent increase in transmission with this particular variant that has been documented in the UK, and there’s likely an increase in severity of disease if infected with this variant,” he said, also pointing out the latest surge in cases in Europe, warning we could see this happen in the U.S.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky - earlier this week - said she still predicts the B.1.1.7 variant will become the dominant strain in this country by the end of this month or in early April, reports US News. Walensky still believes the best way to fight the coronavirus variants is through vaccines and mitigation strategies.
"The way we can counter 1.1.7, which is a growing threat in our country, is to do two things: to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible with the vaccine that we know works against this variant and, finally, to implement the public health measures that we talk about all the time ... masking, physical distancing and avoiding congregant settings, particularly indoors," Fauci said, referring to the variant by its scientific name.
Florida Health Department bows to the lawsuit
And in Florida, the state Department of Health finally released data showing mutated COVID-19 strains of COVID-19 have reached 41 of Florida’s 67 counties, infecting hundreds of residents, including a 97-year-old woman and a 2-year-old boy, after the Orlando Sentinel filed a lawsuit against the state's Department of Health a day earlier.
The disclosure of the data came after the Orlando Sentinel claimed the state agency allegedly violating Florida’s public records law and the state’s constitution. For 57 days, the state withheld information on the variant cases, despite numerous requests from Orlando Sentinel reporters and attorneys.
“We are happy the state is finally complying with the law and releasing this important information so that citizens can be better informed about the extent of variants in Florida,” Sentinel managing editor Roger Simmons said. “It’s just a shame that we had to sue the state – again – to get it.”
According to the most recent figures compiled by the CDC, Florida has had 912 variant cases in all, most of them the highly contagious B.1.1.7 strain from the United Kingdom. The state with the next highest total is Michigan, with 617, followed by Texas with 420.
More about Covid19, UK variant, growing threat, 30 of infections in US, B117
 
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