Infectious Diseases Physician and Microbiologist at the University of California San Francisco, Dr. Charles Chiu, on the Covid-19 Variant First Discovered in the United Kingdom Last Month.

January 5, 2021
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It’s very likely that it’s in every state.

  • The new strain (B.1.1.7 ) of COVID-19 is now present in over 30 countries, including the United States.
  • Since the first U.S. case was reported in Colorado on December 29, additional cases have been identified in at least four states (California, Florida, Georgia and New York).
  • Days before the first U.S. case was identified, the CDC announced that all passengers from the United Kingdom – including U.S. citizens and green card holders – must provide proof of a negative COVID test taken no more than 3 days in order to board a flight to the United States.
  • Dr. Chiu, who began sequencing the COVID-19 virus genome last year in order to study how it evolves and is now studying the new variant alongside the California Department of Public Health, said the fact that none of the U.S. people infected have reported any recent travels outside the U.S. is “worrisome because it suggests the virus is circulating in our community now.”
  • BIG PICTURE:This is a variant that is supposedly more transmissible. And therefore it represents a big threat to us because, having strains that are more transmissible will prolong the pandemic and also increases the risk of more and more cases. We are doing sequencing because we really want to track these variants so we can halt them or curtail their spread very rapidly, if we are able to identify them,” Dr. Chiu said this week.

by Jenna Lee,