New COVID Strain Thought To Be In US
Though it hasn't been identified in the United States, researchers say the mutated virus found in Britain is likely to have infected hundreds of people here already. It has been detected in Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and Gibraltar.
Researchers Think 'Hundreds' Of People In US Could Have UK Coronavirus Strain
Researchers studying the new UK strain of the coronavirus think it likely arrived in the US in mid-November, and that many people in the United States could already be infected. "If I had to guess, I would say it's probably in hundreds of people by now," said Michael Worobey, head of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. "It's very possible it's arrived multiple times in multiple places." (Cohen, 12/22)
CDC Says New UK Strain Of Coronavirus Could 'Already Be In The United States'
A new strain of the coronavirus spreading widely in the United Kingdom may already be circulating in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday. The agency in a scientific brief said scientists are working to better understand how easily it might be transmitted, and they do not yet know why it has emerged in the U.K. (Weixel, 12/22)
Fauci: Assume New COVID-19 Strain Is In US
Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said early Tuesday that Americans should assume a new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus detected in the U.K. is already in the U.S. It’s “certainly possible” that the strain is already present within the U.S., Fauci said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” (Budryk, 12/22)
New COVID-19 Strain Spreads To Italy, Denmark, Netherlands
Health officials in a handful of countries on Tuesday reported new coronavirus cases involving people infected with a mutated strain of the virus that is believed to be more infectious. Sky News reported that the new strain has now been detected in Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and Gibraltar. (Bowden, 12/22)
In updates on the U.K. travel ban —
As Mutated Variant Spreads, PM Johnson Mulls Stricter Lockdown
The British government will review whether it needs to impose its strictest COVID-19 restrictions on more of the country on Wednesday as a highly infectious variant continues to spread but will not change Christmas rules, a minister said. Britain reported a record number of new infections on Tuesday as a mutated strain of the coronavirus, which could be up to 70% more transmissible than the original, causes the number of cases and hospital admissions to soar. (12/23)
The Washington Post:
France To Allow Limited Reopening Of Borders Amid Coronavirus Mutation Fears
France agreed Tuesday to reopen its borders to travelers from Britain and get trade flowing again, but it may take days to clear out the thousands of cargo trucks snarled while a travel ban was in place, prompted by fears of a fast-spreading coronavirus mutation in England. More than 50 countries have enacted restrictions on arrivals from Britain, disrupting passenger air service between the United Kingdom and the rest of the world. But France’s ban was particularly disruptive, halting transit along one of the most crucial trade routes in Europe. (Booth, Noack and Aries, 12/22)
The New York Times:
Why Experts Think Travel Bans Won't Stop Coronavirus Variant Spread
It is not known how widely the variant is already circulating, experts say, and the bans threaten to cause more economic and emotional hardship as the toll wrought by the virus continues to grow. “It is idiotic” was the blunt assessment of Dr. Peter Kremsner, the director of Tübingen University Hospital in Germany. “If this mutant was only on the island, only then does it make sense to close the borders to England, Scotland and Wales. But if it has spread, then we have to combat the new mutant everywhere.” (Santora, 12/22)
And the CEO of BioNTech again expresses confidence in their vaccine —
BioNTech CEO: 'Highly Likely' Vaccine Is Effective Against U.K. Variant
The head of the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech expressed confidence that his company's vaccine would be effective against a coronavirus variant rapidly infecting people across London and southern England. U.K. officials have warned the new variant is likely to be more contagious than the various strains already circulating, though there is no evidence suggesting it is more deadly. BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin underscored that experiments would have to be conducted to reach a definitive conclusion about their vaccine, which it developed with Pfizer. And data from those tests will not be available for a few weeks. (Booker, 12/22)
New Coronavirus Strain: What Does It Mean For You?
A new strain of coronavirus first detected in the UK has prompted dozens of travel bans and widespread concern about what this means for the world. While scientists dig deeper, here's what this new strain means for you. (Yan, 12/22)