Dr. Fauci Just Warned About This "Serious" COVID Development
The infectious disease expert says this isn't something we can blow off.
As COVID cases in the U.S. continue to climb, experts have doubled down on their warnings against traveling and spreading the virus. However, there's one more piece to the puzzle—the U.K. COVID strain. When the new variant was residing abroad, Americans may not have been terribly concerned. Now that the strain has made its way onto U.S. soil, experts are warning about its dangers. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has said that we can't ignore this "serious" COVID development. Keep reading for more on the new strain, and for more insight from Fauci, Dr. Fauci Just Said This State's COVID Situation Is "Unimaginable."
While some people may have been apathetic about the new strain of COVID detected in the U.K. at the end of December, Fauci has made his concern clear. During an interview with NPR on Jan. 7, Fauci was asked how much the new strain of coronavirus worried him. "Well, you always have to be concerned when you see mutations that have a functional capability," he said. He went on to point out that while "most mutations of RNA viruses in many respects are meaningless," the U.K. strain is a different beast.
"We know from the experience in the U.K. that this particular virus is spreading much more rapidly," Fauci added. "The bottom line answer to your question, it's serious enough we have to pay attention to it. We can't just blow it off." He added that the new strain "underscores the need to adhere to the public health measures that would prevent the spread of any virus, whatever the mutant is."
During the NPR interview, Fauci was also asked if he thought the amount of COVID-related deaths would continue to trend negatively. "I believe, unfortunately, that it will," the doctor responded, blaming the spike in cases on holiday travel. "As we get into the next couple of weeks in January, that likely will be a reflection of the holiday season travel and the congregate settings that usually take place socially during that period of time … so we believe things will get worse as we get into January."
While the full effects of holiday gatherings remain to be seen, the U.K. COVID strain has already made its way to eight states. Keep reading to see where the mutation has been found, and for more of Fauci's warnings about the strain, Dr. Fauci Just Made This Scary Prediction About the U.K. COVID Strain.
California confirmed its first case of the new variant on Dec. 30 and now has over 25 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And for more coronavirus news, If You Have This Symptom, You're More Likely to Have a Mild COVID Case.
On Jan. 4, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state first discovered the U.K. strain in a man from upstate New York that worked in Saratoga Springs. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, MD, confirmed on Jan. 7 that someone from Dauphin County tested positive for the new COVID strain after they were exposed abroad.
Connecticut has confirmed at least two cases of the U.K. strain of COVID. Gov. Ned Lamont said both cases are people between the ages of 15 and 25 who reside in New Haven County. According to Lamont, both of these people recently traveled—one to Ireland and the other to New York. And for more on the spread of coronavirus, This Is Who Is Most Likely to Give You COVID, New Study Says.
On Jan. 5, Georgia detected the U.K. variant in an 18-year-old with no recent travel history, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). And for symptoms to be aware of, If This Part of Your Body Hurts, You Could Have COVID.
Florida was one of the earliest states to detect the new strain of COVID back on Dec. 31. The Florida Department of Health announced a man in his 20s in Martin County with no recent travel history had the new strain. According to the CDC, Florida now has over 20 cases of the new COVID variant.
A resident of Harris County in Texas with no recent travel history was the first confirmed case of the new strain in the Lone Star state, according to a Jan. 7 statement from the Texas Department State Health Services (DSHS). "The fact that this person had no travel history suggests this variant is already circulating in Texas," DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, said in the statement.
Colorado is the site of the first reported case of the U.K. strain on U.S. soil. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported the case on Dec. 30. The patient was a man in his 20s isolated in Elbert County with no recent travel history.