Dr. Fauci Just Gave a Warning About the New COVID Strain in the U.S.

"I would not be surprised at all if it is already here," he told "Good Morning America" on Dec. 22.

As a new strain of COVID runs rampant in the U.K., now accounting for more than 60 percent of cases in London, many Americans have grown concerned that the mutated virus has touched down in the States. There is evidence that the new strain of COVID has traveled to other countries abroad, but there's been no proof it's made it to the U.S. However, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), says it's "certainly possible" the new strain is already in the U.S. For more information on Fauci's assessment, read on, and to see what the NIAID director warns against, check out Dr. Fauci Advises Against This One COVID Safety Measure.

During an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America on Dec. 22, Fauci discussed the new variant of COVID that's been wreaking havoc in the U.K. When asked whether he believes the new strain is already in the U.S., he said, "That's certainly possible I mean, when you have this amount of spread within a place like the U.K., that you really need to assume that it's here already…I would not be surprised at all if it is already here."

If the strain is, in fact, in the U.S., Fauci is fairly confident that it "certainly is not the dominant strain" the way it is in the U.K.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new strain of COVID has not been identified through sequencing efforts in the U.S. However, the CDC points out that only a fraction of U.S. cases (51,000 of 17 million) have been sequenced. "Given the small fraction of U.S. infections that have been sequenced, the variant could already be in the United States without having been detected," the agency notes.

The CDC says they will continue to monitor the situation and closely study the virus in the U.S. in an effort to identify any changes quickly.

Of course, there are many questions still unanswered about the new strain of COVID, but here is what we know about it thus far. And to see more from Fauci, check out Dr. Fauci Just Debunked the 4 Biggest Myths About the COVID Vaccine.

Read the original article on Best Life.

The new strain of COVID is more contagious.

Woman in face mask coughing outdoors

During a press conference on Dec. 19, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new strain of COVID "may be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the old variant." However, Johnson noted that "this is early data, and it's subject to review."

Some have noted that the new strain's reported 70 percent increase in contagiousness is based on computer modeling, not laboratory data. "Overall, I think we need to have a little bit more experimental data," Muge Cevik, MD, an infectious disease expert at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a scientific adviser to the British government, told The New York Times. "We can't entirely rule out the fact that some of this transmissibility data might be related to human behavior."

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The new COVID strain doesn't seem deadlier.

In the Hospital Sick Male Patient Sleeps on the Bed. Heart Rate Monitor Equipment is on His Finger.

Experts say the new variant of COVID doesn't seem to be any deadlier than the virus that's currently circulating in the U.S. "Right now we have no indications that it is going to hurt our ability to continue vaccinating people or that it is any more dangerous or deadly than the strains that are currently out there and that we know about," U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, said on Face the Nation on Dec. 20. And to see what side effects you should expect from the vaccine, check out Dr. Fauci Says You Should Expect These COVID Vaccine Side Effects.

The new strain of COVID is in at least five other countries.

woman with face mask looking out the window on a bus

While we're not yet sure if the new strain has made its way to the U.S., it has been detected in Australia, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, and Gibraltar, SkyNews reports. To see the silver lining of the new COVID strain, check out This Is the One Good Thing About the New COVID Strain, WHO Says.

The virus will mutate again.

Scientist studying COVID-19 in lab

Although this is the most remarkable variant of COVID thus far, with more mutations than other strains, it's important to remember that the virus has been mutating since its inception, and it will continue to do so. "This virus mutates like all viruses…and what viruses do is they change their surface proteins. And once they do that, the antibodies that we've developed against those surface proteins no longer work," former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said on Face the Nation on Dec. 20.

"It's going to mutate and change its surface proteins, but probably slow enough that we can develop new vaccines," said Gottlieb. And to see if you're more likely to catch the new strain, check out If You're Under This Age, You're More Likely to Get the New COVID Strain.

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