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WH Coronavirus Task Force Fears New Variant of COVID-19 Evolved in US - Report

© AP Photo / Lynne SladkyIn this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, people arrive at Jackson Memorial Hospital to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Miami.
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, people arrive at Jackson Memorial Hospital to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Miami.  - Sputnik International
According to the media report, the US has ramped up its efforts in detecting new COVID-19 strains in recent weeks. And according to the latest data available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have registered at least 52 confirmed cases of the UK COVID-19 strain in the country.

The White House coronavirus task force believes another highly infectious variant of the coronavirus may have evolved in the United States, NBC News reported on Friday, citing a document that was sent out to US states.

The report said the new strain is already surging in US communities alongside the variant first detected in the United Kingdom and could be 50 percent more transmissible.

The task force noted that the recent surge of new cases is almost double the number registered during spring and summer.

"This acceleration suggests there may be a USA variant that has evolved here, in addition to the UK variant that is already spreading in our communities and may be 50% more transmissible," the report said.

“Aggressive mitigation must be used to match a more aggressive virus; without uniform implementation of effective face masking (two or three ply and well-fitting) and strict social distancing, epidemics could quickly worsen as these variants spread and become predominant."

According to the data of Johns Hopkins University, the US is seeing at least around 228,000 new COVID-19 cases every day, accompanied by at least 2,700 deaths related to the virus per day.

The task force report sent to states on January 3 said aggressive mitigation measures are necessary to contain the spread of the new strain, such as strict social distancing and using effective face masks.

The report purportedly does not provide any information on how long this new variant has been circulating within the nation. Nor does it mention if the strain that evolved in the US is more lethal than the others.

The US authorities registered the first confirmed case of the UK's new coronavirus strain at the end of December in the state of Colorado. Health officials have said that an investigation is underway since the first patient had no recent travel history at all, thus it is believed that the new variant of the virus has already been circulating in the US.

The US has seen 21,776,072 confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic in March last year. The overall death toll of the country has reached 367,635, the current count of Johns Hopkins University says.

Mutated COVID-19 virus from the UK

In late December, British health officials noted that a new variant of the novel coronavirus had emerged in the country. This new strain is considered to be up to 70% more contagious than the original coronavirus, yet not more lethal than other COVID-19 strains detected in the world.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on as Jennifer Dumasi receives the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine during his visit at the Chase Farm Hospital, in north London, Britain January 4, 2021. - Sputnik International
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More than 40 countries across the globe have restricted travel from the British Isles in an attempt to curb the transmission of the new variant. In addition to the UK, infection cases of the novel COVID-19 variant have been registered in several other countries, including Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and the UAE.

On Friday, mayor of London Sadiq Khan declared a major incident in the UK capital due to the rapid spread of the virus that is inflicting a heavy burden on the National Health Service, which is leading the country's fight against the novel coronavirus, as "one in 30 Londoners now has COVID-19", the mayor stressed.

In light of the significant rise of new daily infection cases in the country attributed to the spread of the new strain, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the third national lockdown on Monday, which came into force this Thursday. The new measure comes as the UK continues to see all-time record highs of daily confirmed cases, which topped 60,000 on Tuesday, despite having started the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in December.

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