WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The first Covid-19 case caused by a contagious UK variant had been posted in the United States, Colorado health officials reported.
- Also known as SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, the mutated strain is said to be more contagious than the novel coronavirus and more transmissible by 70 percent.
- Health officials confirmed that the infected individual who is now in isolation in Elbert County, Colorado, reported no history of travel.
Colorado health officials confirmed Tuesday that the first Covid-19 case caused by the more infectious UK variant had been identified in the United States.
Officials said the infected individual who is in his 20s and does not have a travel history is currently in isolation in Elbert County, south of Denver.
Despite not knowing much about the new Covid-19 variant, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said on Tuesday that UK scientists are warning the world that the new strain, also known in the science community as SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, is far more contagious and possibly 70% more transmissible.
Nevertheless, Polis assured that public health officials have been working to track down potential cases through contact tracing channels.
“The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely,” Polis said. “We are working to prevent spread and contain the virus at all levels.”
Citing ongoing travel between the U.K. and the U.S., as a possible explanation for the transmission of the new variant, the CDC in December said that the new strain could possibly be circulating already in the U.S. without their knowing.
However, Reuters, citing officials familiar with the matter, reported the Trump administration will not require Covid-19 screenings for passengers coming to the U.S. from the United Kingdom.
Preliminary data indicated that the mutated strain was first discovered in the U.K., which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said may be the reason behind Britain’s recent hike in Covid infections. Such discovery led to border closures in European countries as well as countries outside the continent.
Meanwhile, another infectious variant of the novel coronavirus discovered in South Africa has now surfaced in the UK but so far has not yet emerged in the United States.