The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, Wednesday, that a highly contagious type of coronavirus that was first identified in Britain has become the most common source of new infection in the United States. The troubling development comes as officials and scientists warn that this might happen Fourth boom From infections.
Federal health officials said In January that Variable B.1.1.7, Who started Rising in Britain in a Dec Since then he has criticized Europe, it could become the dominant source of Coronavirus infection in the United States, leading to a massive increase in cases and deaths.
At that point, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths were at an all-time high. From that peak, all numbers fell through late February. According to the New York Times Database. After several weeks of stabilization, new cases are increasing and hospitalizations are again. The average number of new cases in the country reached nearly 65,000 per day as of Tuesday, They are mostly concentrated in the metro areas of Michigan And also in the New York City area. This is an increase 19 percent Compared to the number two weeks ago.
Dr. Rochelle Wallinski, director of the CDC, who warned last week that she had a recurring sensation ofImpending deathHe said on Wednesday that 52 of the agency’s 64 jurisdictions – which include states and some major cities and territories – are now reporting Cases of these so-called “variables of concern”, Including B.1.1.7.
Even so, the number of deaths continues to decline – which is likely a sign that mass vaccinations are starting to protect older Americans and other at-risk populations.
“These trends point to two clear facts,” said Dr. Walinsky. First, the virus is still catching us, infecting and doing harm to people, and we need to remain vigilant. Second, we need to continue to accelerate vaccination efforts and take individual responsibility for vaccination when we can. “
B.1.1.7, the first variable to gain widespread attention, is about 60 percent more contagious And 67 percent More deadly From the original form of the Coronavirus, according to the latest estimates. The CDC was also tracking the spread of other variants, such as B.1.351, which was first found in South Africa, and P.1, which was first identified in Brazil.
The percentage of cases caused by the variants is clearly increasing. Helix, a lab testing company, has tracked the continuous increase in B.1.1.7 since the start of the year. As of April 3, it became estimated That the variable accounted for 58.9 percent of all new tests.
This variant was found to be most prevalent in Michigan, Florida, Colorado, California, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. According to the CDC Until recently, it was a Variable height It has been camouflaged to some extent by lower infection rates overall, which has led some political leaders to loosen restrictions on indoor eating, social distancing, and other measures.
As cases decreased, restless Americans returned to school and work, Against warnings To some scholars.
Federal health officials are tracking reports of an increasing number of cases linked to daycare and youth sports, and hospitals are also seeing more and more younger adults – people in their 30s and 40s who have been admitted with severe disease, Dr. Walinsky said.
Due to the increasing frequency of B.1.1.7, it is difficult for scientists to quantify exactly the current patterns of infection.
“I have been bogged down by the ongoing reopening and changes in behavior,” said Dr. Adam Loring, a virologist at the University of Michigan.
But he indicated that people were becoming less wary at a time when they should have increased their caution against a more contagious variable. “It’s worrying,” he said.
At the same time, the United States now Vaccinate an average of about three million people a dayStates have scrambled to make all adults eligible. The CDC reported Wednesday that nearly 110 million people have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, including about 64.4 million people who have been fully vaccinated. It leads the states of New Mexico, South Dakota, Rhode Island and Alaska, with about 25 percent of its total population fully vaccinated.
Scientists hope that vaccination will weaken any potential fourth increase.
Tuesday, President Biden has raised his vaccination schedule Two weeks ago, the states called to make every American adult eligible by April 19. All provinces They have already achieved or expect to overcome this goal after they were initially asked to do so by May 1st.
Variant B.1.1.7 first arrived in the United States last year. In February, a study analyzed half a million tests for the Coronavirus and … Hundreds of genomes Predict that this alternative could become prevalent in the country within a month. At the time, the CDC was fighting for Sequence of new variants, Which made it difficult to track them.
But these efforts have improved dramatically in recent weeks and will continue to grow, due in large part to $ 1.75 billion in Gene sequencing funds In the Stimulus package Mr. Biden signed it into law last month. By contrast, Britain, which has a more centralized healthcare system, started a heavily promoted sequencing program last year that allowed it to track the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant.
“We knew this was going to happen: this variant is much more transmissible, and much more contagious than the parent strain, and it obviously has implications,” said Dr. Carlos Del Rio, professor of medicine and an infectious disease expert at Emory. University. He said that in addition to spreading more efficiently, the B.1.1.7 strain appeared to cause more severe disease, “giving you a double whammy.”
Perhaps most disturbing is the emergence of a virulent virus P.1 variable In North America. It was first identified in Brazil, and has become the predominant alternative in that country, helping to propel it Hospitals to breaking point. In Canada, the P.1 variant Featured as a group in OntarioThen, Whistler Ski Resort in British Columbia closed. On Wednesday, the National Hockey League The Vancouver Canucks said it has at least 21 players Four employees contracted the Corona virus.
“This is a stark reminder of how quickly the virus can spread and its dangerous impact, even among healthy young athletes,” said team doctor Jim Bouffard in a statement.