WASHINGTON - A highly infectious variant of the coronavirus that was first identified in Britain has become the most common source of new infections in the United States, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday. The worrying development comes as officials and scientists warn of a possible fourth push infections.
At this time, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths were at an all - time high. From that peak, the numbers all declined until the end of February, according toa database from Hfrance.fr . After several weeks at a plateau, new cases and hospitalizations are increasing again. The average number of new cases in the country reached nearly 65,000 per day on Tuesday, mainly concentrated in metro areas of Michigan as well as in the New York area. This is an increase in the target 19 percent from two weeks ago.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the C.D.C. director, who warned last week that she felt a recurring feeling of " impending doom ", said Wednesday that 52 of the agency 's 64 jurisdictions - which include states, some large cities and territories - now report cases of these so-called“ worrying variants ”, including B.1.1.7.
The death toll, however, continues to decline - a potentially sign that mass vaccinations are starting to protect older Americans and others who are very vulnerable
" These trends point to two clear truths "said Dr Walensky." First, the virus is still holding us back, infecting people and putting them at risk, and we must remain vigilant. And two, we must continue to accelerate our immunization efforts and take individual responsibilitylle to get vaccinated when we can. "
B.1.1.7, the first variant to be widely used, concerns 60% more contagious and 67 percent more deadly than the original form of the coronavirus, according to the most recent estimates. The CDC has also tracked the spread of other variants, such as B.1.351, foundfor the first time in South Africa, and P.1, which was first identified in Brazil.
The percentage of cases caused by variants is clearly increasing. Helix, a laboratory testing company, has tracked the relentless rise in B.1.1.7 since the start of the year. Since April 3, he estimated that the variant accounted for 58.9% of all new tests.
This variant is most common in Michigan, Florida, Colorado, California, Minnesota and Massachusetts, according to the CDC Until recently, the The rise in the variant has been somewhat camouflaged by the drop in infection rates overall, which has led some political leaders to relax restrictions on meals at home. interior, social distancing and other measures.
As cases fell, reluctant Americans returned to school and work, against the warnings of s ome scientists.
Federal health officials are monitoring reports of a growing number of cases associated with child care and youth sports, and hospitals are receiving more younger adults - peopleAre in their 30s and 40s who are admitted with "serious illness," said Dr. Walensky.
It is difficult for scientists to say exactly how bad the current infection patterns are due to the increasing frequency of B.1.1.7.
"It 's confused by the reopening that is happening and the changes in behavior " said Dr Adam Lauring, a virologist at the 'University of Michigan.
But he noted that people were becoming less cautious at a time when they would need to be guarding against a more contagious variant. "It is worrying," he said.
At the same time, the United States is currently vaccinate on average approximately three millionpeople per day , and states have rushed to make all adults eligible. The CDC reported on Tuesday that around 108.3 million people had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, of which around 63 million were fully vaccinated. New Mexico, South Dakota, Rhode Island, and Alaska lead the states, with about 25 percent of their total population fully vaccinated.
Scientists hope the vaccination will alleviate any potential fourth outbreak.
Tuesday, President Biden has increased his immunization schedule by two weeks, calling on states to make every U.S. adult eligible by April 19. Almost all states have already reached or plan to beat this goal after initially asking to do so by May 1st.
The B.1.1.7 variant arrived in the United States last year. In February, a study that analyzed half a million coronavirus tests and data hundreds of genomes predicts that this variant could become predominant in the country here a month. At that time, the C.D.C. had trouble sequences the new variants , which made it difficult to keep track of them.
But these efforts have been consiDramatically improved lately. eeks and will continue to grow, largely due to $ 1.75 billion in funds for genomic sequencing in the stimulus package that Mr Biden enacted last month. In contrast, Britain, which has a more centralized health care system, has launched the 'last year a highly promoted sequencing program that allowed him to track the spread of variant B.1.1.7.
"We knew this was going to happen: this variant is much more transmissible, much more infectious than the parent strain, and that obviously has implications "said Dr Carlos del Rio, professor of medicine and an expert in infectious diseases at Emory University. Besides spreading more efficiently, he said, the B.1.1.7 strain appears to cause more serious disease, "which gives you a double whammy.
The emergence of the virulent Variant P.1 in North America. First identified in Brazil, it has become the dominant variant in this country, helping to pilot its title hospitals to breaking point . In Canada, the P.1 variant became a cluster in Ontario , then closed the Whistler ski resort in British Columbia. Wednesday, the National Hockey League Vancouver Canucks say at least 21 players and four staff have been infected by the coronavirus.
"This is a stark reminder of how quickly the virus can spread and its severe impact, even among healthy young athletes " , team medic Jim Bovard said in a statement. .