United States’ top scientists and health officials are now concerned about a new, more contagious COVID-19 strain that was first identified in the United Kingdom and may have already reached the U.S.
According to reports from the CDC, the new strain is more "rapidly transmissible" than the other known circulating strains of COVID-19. UK alerted WHO about the mutation, saying it accounted for some 60% of London’s new cases.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed strict lockdown measures in London and neighboring areas where Health Secretary Matt Hancock reported that new strain is "out of control."
The U.S. officials are also keeping watch, and some health officials believe that it may be too late to stop the mutated strain of the coronavirus from crossing the Atlantic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, told media, “When you see something that is pretty prevalent in a place like the U.K. — there are also mutations that we’re seeing in South Africa — and given the travel throughout the world, I would not be surprised if it is already here."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention matched Dr. Fauci’s concern.
The CDC said in a statement, "Ongoing travel between the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the high prevalence of this variant among current UK infections, increase the likelihood of importation."
"Given the small fraction of US infections that have been sequenced, the variant could already be in the United States without having been detected."
But the CDC said it has no evidence that the new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 is any more serious or deadly than the other known strains that have infected nearly 78 million people and killed 1.7 million worldwide.