CDC's Prediction About B117 Variant Was Correct

The British COVID variant is now the dominant US strain
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2021 3:29 AM CDT
Updated Apr 8, 2021 6:46 AM CDT
British COVID Variant Is Now Dominant US Strain
In this March 30, 2021 photo, stickers are available for individuals that receive a vaccination at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Community Vaccination Center in Atlanta.   (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

The CDC says its prediction earlier this year that the coronavirus strain first detected in Britain would become the dominant strain in the US is now reality. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that the more infectious B117 variant is "now the most common lineage circulating in the United States," NPR reports. The variant is believed to be around 60% more virulent and 67% more deadly than the original strain and authorities say it is a big part of why case numbers are starting to rise again. With many of the most vulnerable Americans already vaccinated and millions more being vaccinated every day, deaths are continuing to drop, though Walensky says hospitals are seeing more people in their 30s and 40s admitted with "severe disease," the New York Times reports.

The trends show that "the virus still has hold on us, infecting people and putting them in harm’s way, and we need to remain vigilant," Walensky said, calling for vaccination efforts to be accelerated. She said officials are seeing new outbreaks linked to youth sports and day care centers and called for sports activities for younger people in affected communities to be cut back or suspended, along with other large events. Harvard University professor of epidemiology William Hanage tells NPR that it was inevitable that the British strain would become the dominant one in the US, but at least "this is happening at a point when we have a decent amount of vaccination." (Almost half the new cases in the US are in five states.)

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