COVID Variants Expected to Be Dominant Soon

Day 356: Stay Safe Minnesota

The COVID variant B.1.1.7 is projected to become the dominant variant in the US by the end of this month or early April. Because it is highly contagious, it could cause a surge in cases.

Though the daily reports of new coronavirus cases in the country are reportedly continue to decline and more than 2 million Americans are now being vaccinated daily, the White House Covid-19 response team has been preparing for the potential surge of Covid-19 variant, CNN reports.

“That focus has increased in recent weeks as the decline in new daily cases slowed, leveling off at a worryingly high level. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, will be the dominant strain within weeks. There are also concerns about governors and local officials prematurely loosening public health restrictions in a slew of states.”

According to CNN, about a dozen state leaders have eased Covid-19 restrictions this month low reported new cases and more peoples are getting vaccinated. “At the same time, air travel is hitting pandemic-era records and the first spring break crowds have begun descending on Florida and other sunny regions while cases of a dangerous variant are on the rise.

“Experts are worried some Americans are letting up too early — at a critical time when looming dangers are threatening to wipe out the progress the US has made in its battle against Covid-19.”

From CNN

We have seen footage of people enjoying spring break festivities, maskless. This is all in the context of still 50,000 cases per day.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(source: CNN)

Dr Walensky warned that the B.1.1.7 is ‘projected to become the dominant variant in the US by the end of this month or early April’.

Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting CDC director, told CNN “The way the variants spread is by letting our guard down. By not wearing masks, by not social distancing. If we can hang in there for a few more months, there will be enough vaccine for every adult in America to be vaccinated. Then we can truly let go of some of the restrictions that are in place. But if we do this too quickly, we could see an increase in cases, we could see a backslide that is occurring in many European countries and that does not have to be the outcome here in America.”

According to recently published research, the variant was associated with an estimated 64% higher risk of dying from Covid-19. The current vaccines generally offer good protection against the B.1.1.7 variant.

COVID-19 Vaccination Watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of Mar 18, 9 a.m.) 151,108,445 doses have been distributed and 115,730,008 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of Mar 16) a total of 2,023,574 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of Mar 18) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 501,458 (out of 7,847,879 tested) with 6,762 deaths.