On April 7th at a White House briefing, CDC director, Rochelle Walensky announced that the UK variant of the Coronavirus, also known as B.1.1.7, is now the dominant strain in the United States. Evidence suggests that this variant is more contagious. However, nbcnews.com reported that recent studies have shown that it isn’t connected to an increased risk of death. The variant was identified in the U.K. last fall and was first reported in the U.S. in late December of 2020. According to cnbc.com, two weeks ago, Walensky explained that the B.1.1.7 variant had started to become the most prevalent strain in some parts of the country.
Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines have shown to be effective against this variant, but officials are still expressing concerns. According to cnn.com, Walensky said, “There is still reason for us to be concerned with rising case counts, rising variants reported and increasing hospitalizations…” Recently, there have been more cases and hospitalizations among younger people. Nationalgeographic.com explained that epidemiologist, Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said, “We’re now seeing substantial numbers of outbreaks in schools and in school-related activities.” According to cdc.gov, on April 10th, there were 20,915 reported cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the U.S. across 52 jurisdictions, with Maryland having 665 of those cases. Florida had the most UK variant cases as of April 10th with 3,510 reported. Officials are urging people to get vaccinated and to follow the CDC guidelines such as social distancing because although more people are getting vaccinated, they fear that the virus will continue to spread and mutate into more dangerous variants.