CDC Says Coronavirus Variant Found in UK Could Become Dominant Strain in the U.S. by March

FILE PHOTO: A nurse guides people being tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outside a hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada December 10, 2020. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

A HIGHLY TRANSMISSIBLE coronavirus variant that was first detected in the U.K. could become the main strain circulating in the U.S. in March, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report said that the variant could exhibit “rapid growth in early 2021,” leading the agency to urge for “universal and increased compliance with mitigation strategies, including distancing and masking.” Increased vaccination coverage could be needed to protect the public, according to the CDC.

“Taking measures to reduce transmission now can lessen the potential impact of B.1.1.7 (the variant) and allow critical time to increase vaccination coverage,” the study said.

CDC data shows that the U.S. has found 76 cases of the variant, but several infections in people who have no reported travel history likely means the strain is spreading undetected.

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SOURCE: US News & World Report, Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder

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