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New COVID-19 variant will spread ‘pretty rapidly’ in the U.S., experts say

Multiple experts expressed worry about the new COVID-19 variant that’s popped up in the U.S.

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Banners advising people to wear masks against the coronavirus hang along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021.

Banners advising people to wear masks against the coronavirus hang along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021.

Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press

Experts continue to worry about the new COVID-19 variant that was originally discovered in the United Kingdom.

Experts worry about the spread

Experts continue to express worry about the variant, saying it would lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country in the next few weeks. Experts recently told The Washington Post that we’re in a race against time.

  • National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told The Washington Post on Wednesday: “I would be surprised if that doesn’t grow pretty rapidly.”
  • Greg Armstrong, the leader of the strain surveillance program at the CDC, told the Post: “Here at the CDC, we’re definitely taking this seriously, and we’re assuming for now that this variant is more transmissible.” The British variant “is probably not in every state at this point, but I think in a lot of states.”
  • Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told The Washington Post: “We are in a race against time. We need to increase our speed in which we act so that we don’t allow this virus to spread further and allow this variant to become the dominant one in circulation. The clock is ticking.”

A look to the future

Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said over the weekend that the majority of COVID-19 cases in March will come from the variant, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • “There are some estimates that the new variant probably represents about 1% of all infections in this country. By March, it’s going to be the majority of infections.”