CDC says new Covid strain in U.S. could further stress ‘already heavily burdened’ hospitals

CDC headquarters in Atlanta

Elijah Nouvelage | Bloomberg through Getty Images

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated Wednesday {that a} new strain of Covid-19 now circulating in the U.S. could further stress hospitals which are already overwhelmed with coronavirus sufferers.

Colorado well being officers introduced Tuesday that they detected the primary recognized case of the new and extra infectious strain of the virus that was first found in the United Kingdom. A second separate new strain first recognized in South Africa might also already be circulating in the U.S. as effectively, CDC officers stated.

“Because the variants spread more rapidly, they could lead to more cases and put even more strain on our already heavily burdened health-care systems,” Dr. Henry Walke, the company’s Covid incident supervisor, stated on a convention name with reporters.

Walke stated the out there knowledge point out that the new variant spreads “more easily and quickly than other strains,” however it doesn’t seem to trigger extra extreme illness or elevated danger of demise.

He famous that the person in Colorado who was contaminated with the new strain of the virus didn’t have a journey historical past, which “suggests this variant has been transmitted from person to person in the United States.” He added that contemplating how broadly the variant has unfold in the U.Ok., the arrival of the variant in the U.S. “was expected.”

“Viruses constantly change through mutation and we expect to see new variants emerge over time,” he stated. “Many mutations lead to variants that don’t change how the virus infects people. Sometime, however, variants emerge that can spread more easily, like these.”

He added that “experts believe our current vaccines will be effective against” each of the new strains. Scientists are nonetheless finding out how the new strain responds to Covid-19 remedies like monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma.

Dr. Greg Armstrong, the director of the CDC’s Office of Advanced Molecular Detection, stated the assertion that the vaccines will probably be efficient towards the new variant is predicated on “experience with similar previous mutations.” He added that immunity induced by means of earlier an infection from a special strain can be in all probability efficient towards these new strains.

National and state laboratories across the nation are conducting testing to find out whether or not different variants are current in the U.S. and the way broadly the variant that was found in the U.Ok. is spreading. He stated the CDC is ramping up the nationwide surveillance program so that they will be receiving 750 samples per week for sequencing.

He added that the company is contracting with seven tutorial facilities across the nation to sequence samples and seek for new variants domestically. Those facilities, he stated, are in Boston, Massachusetts New Haven, Connecticut, Athens, Georgia, Nashville, Tennessee, Madison, Wisconsin, and the Scripps Institute in San Diego, California.

“There are a lot of laboratories that have this capacity around the U.S.,” he stated of testing for the new variant. “A lot of them are looking for this variant right now.”

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