- The new CDC Director warns that we have to treat every COVID-19 case like it could be a variant, as more cases of highly contagious variants are discovered in the US.
- There have been 379 confirmed cases of the variant first discovered in the UK.
- Some vaccines appeared to be less effective towards a variant first detected in South Africa.
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As cases of coronavirus variants are reported in the US, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says we have to treat every COVID-19 case as if it’s a variant.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky said officials were ramping up tracking of the variants but urged Americans to continue to wear masks and social distance, during a COVID-19 briefing on Friday.
“By the time someone has symptoms, gets a test, has a positive result and we get the sequence, our opportunity for doing real case-control and contact tracing is largely gone,” Walensky said. “We should be treating every case as if it’s a variant during this pandemic right now.”
Walensky said 379 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant which was first detected in the United Kingdom have now been confirmed across 29 states.
This comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that some vaccines are less effective against a variant first discovered in South Africa.
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Johnson & Johnson’s said their vaccine was 66% effective at preventing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19 but was less effective in trials in South Africa, where a specific variant has been spreading. Novavax also said its vaccine was less effective against that coronavirus variant.
On Thursday, South Carolina health officials said they detected two cases involving the South Africa variant this week.
Other more highly contagious variants have also been reported in the US. On Monday, Minnesota health officials said they discovered the first known case of a variant first discovered in Brazil.
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