B.1.1.7 Variant, Now Dominant in US

Day 378: Stay Safe Minnesota

According to the Director of CDC, the B.1.1.7, first identified in the UK, is now the most common strain of coronavirus in the United States.

Dr Rochelle Walensky, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told at the White House Covid-19 response team briefing that the B.1.1.7, first identified in the UK, is now the most common strain of coronavirus in the United States.

Dr. Carlos del Rio, a professor of medicine and an infectious disease expert at Emory University, told the Post “We knew this was going to happen: This variant is a lot more transmissible, much more infectious than the parent strain, and that obviously has implications. In addition to spreading more efficiently, he said, the B.1.1.7 strain appears to cause more severe disease, so that gives you a double whammy.”

Screenshot source: The Washington Post.

According to CNN Health, just five states ( New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey) have accounted for about 43% of new coronavirus cases over the last week, based on data from Johns Hopkins University. “Case rates have risen especially in Michigan lately, averaging more than 6,600 cases a day over a week now against 1,350 daily cases five weeks ago.”

Based on our most recent estimates from CDC surveillance, the B.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States.

Dr Rochelle Walensky, Director of CDC (source: CNN Health)

Federal health officials acknowledged a bit of good news that the number of covid-related deaths are continueing to decline — potentially a sign that mass vaccinations are beginning to protect older Americans and other highly vulnerable populations.

Dr. Walensky added “These trends are pointing to two clear truths. One, the virus still has hold on us, infecting people and putting them in harm’s way, and we need to remain vigilant. And two, we need to continue to accelerate our vaccination efforts and to take the individual responsibility to get vaccinated when we can.”

Dr. Michael Osterholm, director for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, said Tuesday that ‘with more-transmissible variants adding up, surges like Michigan’s may soon be seen more widely, even though vaccination rates have increased nationally’.

I wish we had another three or four months before this B.1.1.7 variant surge started to occur.

DR. Michael Osterholm, Director of CIDRAP (source: CNN Health)

Dr. Walensky said Wednesday that ‘testing efforts are still critical in identifying and isolating infecting people, and she encouraged those who are eligible for vaccinations to get them’.

According to the CDC, more than 33% of total US population have received at least one-dose of COVID-19 vaccine, as of Wednesday April 7. More than 76% of seniors 65-year and older have received at least one-dose of vaccine.

Commenting on the states loosening restrictions, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said “It is premature to declare a victory. We’ve got to continue and hang in there a bit longer by continuing with the public health measures.”

COVID-19 Vaccination Watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of Apr 09, 9 a.m.) 233,591,955 doses have been distributed and 178,837,781 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of April 07) a total of 3,118,678 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of Apr 09) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 537,828 (out of 8,531,918 tested) with 6,932 deaths.