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This COVID-19 variant represents 10% of new U.S. cases

The B.1.1.7 variant is now hitting the U.S. at a time when cases have dropped

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In this Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 file photo, people wait in line at a mass vaccination site in the Queens borough of New York. This FEMA run site, along with another in Brooklyn, gives priority to local residents in an effort to equitably distribute the vaccine.

In this Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, file photo, people wait in line at a mass vaccination site in the Queens borough of New York. This FEMA run site, along with another in Brooklyn, gives priority to local residents in an effort to equitably distribute the vaccine.

Associated Press

The coronavirus variant first discovered in the United Kingdom now represents 10% of new cases in the United States, Ars Technica reports.

  • The variant — known as the B.1.1.7 variant— has been reported as 40% to 50% more infectious than the previous mutation of the coronavirus, according to Ars Technica.
  • Now, it has spread so much that it represents 10% of all cases in the United States. That’s up from 1% to 4% just a few weeks back.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a press briefing this week that new data will reveal how much the variant has spread, per Ars Technica.

  • “We may now be seeing the beginning effects of these variants in the most recent data,” Walensky added.

Flashback

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted at the end of January that the U.K. variant would become the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the United States by the end of March.

At the time, there had only been 76 cases of the more-transmissible variant identified in the U.S., per The New York Times.

The CDC said it explored every scenario and found the U.K. strain will be the more common strain of the virus once we hit March.

  • The new data “speaks to the urgency of getting vaccines out. It’s now a race against the virus,” said William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, according to The Washington Post.