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article imageU.S. records first death from more contagious UK variant

By Karen Graham     Jan 29, 2021 in Health
The first known U.S. death from the more contagious and potentially deadlier variant of the coronavirus first identified in the United Kingdom has been reported in New Jersey.
After first being identified in the United States about one month ago, New Jersey is the first state to report a death from the UK's B.1.1.1 coronavirus variant, according to New Jersey state health commissioner Judy Persichilli, who made the announcement on Wednesday.
“It’s more important than ever with the variant to continue to mask up, social distance, stay home when you’re sick,” Persichilli said during a news briefing. She said the patient had “significant underlying health conditions” and no history of international travel.
The more transmissible UK variant has now been identified in over 300 cases in 26 states says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, warning the B.1.1.1 variant will likely be the dominant strain in the U.S. by March.
There is also some evidence that the UK variant could be deadlier than the current more common strain circulating across the country, however, at this time, according to health officials, the coronavirus vaccines currently being given appear to work against the strain.
“The variants that have been identified recently seem to spread more easily, they’re more transmissible, which can lead to an increased number of cases and increase stress on our already taxed health care system,” Walensky said during a White House COVID-19 briefing.
Risks are greater as more variants arise
Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital, says that the U.S. is “in for a tough ride” as new Covid variants spread across the country.
"Because they’re more transmissible, it means more Americans will become infected, so even though we’ve had a slight decrease in the number of new cases ... the expectation now, it’s going to go back up because of these new variants,” said Hotez in a Thursday evening interview on “The News with Shepard Smith.” “
“More people are going to get infected, start overwhelming hospital systems again, and possibly the death rate will start to go up, both from a combination of more new cases in general and also they may have slightly higher mortality rates just from the variant just by the nature of the variant.”
As of Friday, January 29, The U.S. has recorded 25,789,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 433,622 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
More about UK variant death, New jersey, 50 more transmissible, 26 states, uptick in tracking
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