COVID Continues: A Scary Variant Surfaces


Eraldo Peres

A new variant of COVID-19 found in England has surfaced in the U.S. and is spreading faster than ever.

Kennedy Jones, Staff Writer

After almost a year since COVID-19 shut the country down, a new and more deadly variant of the virus has surfaced and made its way to the U.S. Even though vaccines are being distributed rapidly throughout the nation, this new strain is spreading faster than the original disease. 

The mutation is called B.1.1.7 and began spreading in England, making COVID cases soar. The deadly variant was found in Colorado in late 2020 and the CDC warned that it could become a bigger issue by March. A study done at the Scripps Research Institute estimated the transmission rate of this new mutation in the U.S. is 30 to 40 percent higher than the common COVID variant.

Based on how this variant has spread throughout the United Kingdom, we should expect the same in the United States if it is not controlled. However, the new vaccines will play a huge role in controlling the spread of the mutation.

“What we need to do with the current vaccines is get them into as many people as we can as quickly as possible. Whatever was true elsewhere is going to be true here as well, and we need to deal with it,” Dr. Anderson from Scripps Research Institute said.

The cause of this new mutation is likely due to the massive amount of traveling people did for the holidays. This is also why it has spread to the United States. In Florida, scientists have found that more than 4 percent of cases are caused by this variant, making the national figure only 1 or 2 percent of the whole country. If this is true, more than a thousand people are getting infected with the mutation every day.

“I can guarantee you that there are places where the variant might be relatively prevalent by now that we would not pick up,” Dr. Anderson said.

The mutation is very hard to detect and takes a very specialized machine to do so. The CDC has recorded only 611 cases of this variant but there are likely thousands of people who have been infected with this new strain and don’t even know it.

Now more than ever it is imperative to follow guidelines set by the CDC. More government mandates are being put into place to ensure that the population is staying safe while vaccines are being administered. There has already been a significant decrease of hospitalizations and among people with the ages of 65 and older, who are the first to receive the vaccine.

This new COVID variant is extremely dangerous and fast spreading. If you know someone who is eligible to receive the vaccine, encourage them to get it. It is completely safe and is making a huge impact on the number of cases in the country. It’s up to us to keep our communities safe by continuing to social distance, wear a mask, and refrain from traveling or gathering in large groups.

For more information about this new variant, click the link below!