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B.1.1.7 may become predominant variant in US in March: CDC

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-02-18 09:45
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A man walks past a closed Bourbon St. bar amid stepped-up COVID-19 protocols on Fat Tuesday in New Orleans, Louisiana, US, Feb 16, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - Modeling data suggest that B.1.1.7 could become the predominant variant in the United States in March, according to a study released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday.

The first US infection case of the B.1.1.7 variant was detected in Colorado in late December. As of Feb 16, a total of 1,277 COVID-19 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant had been identified in 42 US states.

The B.1.1.7 variant, which was first reported in the United Kingdom in December 2020, is reported to be more transmissible than certain other SARS-CoV-2 lineages, according to the CDC.

Besides the B.1.1.7 variant, B.1.351, a new strain initially discovered in South Africa, and the P.1 strain, which was first discovered in Brazil, are also driving infections in the United States.

As of Tuesday, a total of 1,299 infection cases of the three coronavirus variants had been reported in the nation, according to the CDC.

The vast majority of these cases, 1,277, were caused by the B.1.1.7 variant. There were 19 cases of B.1.351, and three cases of the P.1 strain.

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to trend downward in the United States. But the CDC warns that variants may lead to a "rapid rise" in COVID-19 infections.

The United States has recorded over 27.8 million cases with more than 489,900 related deaths as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

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