CDC Concerned Virus Variant May Dominate In US

Pharmacist Brian Meyer gives Kay Ketzenberger the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021 at Sunflower Pharmacy in Odessa, Texas. The Moderna vaccine for the virus does not establish immunity until 7 to 14 days following the second dose according to the CDC. Sunflower Pharmacy is the first privately owned pharmacy in Odessa given to permission to distribute the vaccine. (Eli Hartman/Odessa American via AP)

NEW YORK — Health officials say by March, a new and more infectious strain of coronavirus — first found in the United Kingdom — will likely become the dominant strain in the United States.

The UK variant currently is in 12 states but has been diagnosed in only 76 of the 23 million U.S. cases reported to date. However, it’s likely that version of the virus is more widespread in this country than is currently reported, according to scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While it’s considered more infectious than the virus that’s been causing the bulk of U.S. cases so far, there’s no evidence that it causes more severe illness or is transmitted differently. Therefore, mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing and other prevention strategies can still work, the CDC says.

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