WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Scientists in a follow-up study gave evidence on Friday that infection from the UK coronavirus variant is even more transmissible and deadlier than the original strain.
- They also confirmed that it may likely contribute to a heightened risk of hospitalization as well as death compared to other variants of the virus.
- The VOC B1.1.7 was first identified in the UK and has since spread to other countries including the United States.
New evidence from a new follow-up study found that the coronavirus B.1.1.7 variant that was first detected in the UK and has now spread to over 80 countries including the US is more deadly than other mutations of the virus.
On Friday, scientists with the British government confirmed that the mutated coronavirus strain is 30 to 70% more lethal than the original strain and is linked to “an increased risk of hospitalization and death” than other viruses.
“There is evidence from analysis of multiple different datasets that infection with VOC B1.1.7 is associated with an increased risk of hospitalization [sic] and death compared to infection with” other forms of the virus, the authors wrote.
Based on an analysis of a larger sample size of COVID-19 patients across the UK, findings from the current study appeared to validate previous assumptions that the variant was more transmissible by up to 70%. Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted last month that the variant may likely be associated with a higher mortality rate.
However, the scientists noted that the assessments had several limitations including the death toll which is too low for reliable interference as well as the consensus of the findings not being unanimous. Also, they suggested that reporting on long-term facility care and nursing home residents was not sufficient enough for the analysis.
In the U.S., Colorado was the first state to report the mutation. This was followed by New York, California, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Utah, and many others.
Experts have warned that the variant may have already spread across the country, with cases already surpassing 70, more than the 50 cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month.
“These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19,” said the CDC. “An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.”
While further research is working to prove existing beliefs that the coronavirus vaccines will work against the variant, the health agency added that public health mitigation measures such as vaccination, physical distancing, mask use, hand hygiene, and quarantine, should still be strictly observed to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Source: Fox News