The new variant of the novel coronavirus might already be circulating throughout the United States — but the U.S. might have missed it because of testing challenges, an expert recently told CNBC.

What’s going on?

Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, the medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit at Boston Medical Center, told “The News with Shepard Smith” program on Monday that the new strain might be falling through the testing holes in the United States.

  • “To find that strain, what we need to do is to take a percentage of the samples that are diagnosed and do deep genetic analysis, and (in) the U.S., our capacity hasn’t been spectacular,” Bhadelia told CNBC.
  • “If the strain is here, we might just be missing it because the holes in our net are too wide,” Bhadelia said.
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The new strain:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the new coronavirus strain, which first appeared in the United Kingdom and prompted lockdowns across Europe, hasn’t been officially detected in the United States. However, testing methods may not have found the virus within the country yet.

  • For example, the U.S. only sequenced 51,000 infections of 17 million cases in the country. The U.K. sequenced 125,000, which led officials there to find the new variant, according to CNBC.
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Probably already in the United States:

Dr. Anthony Fauci told “Good Morning America” that the new variant is likely already in the United States.

  • “When you have this amount of spread within a place like the U.K., you really need to assume that it’s here already … it certainly is not the dominant strain, but I would certainly not be surprised at all if it is already here.”