UK variant of coronavirus found in US could be deadlier

The UK variant of coronavirus which has been found in the U.S., is likely deadlier than other versions of the virus, according to an assessment released by scientists with the British government.

The variant, known as B.1.1.7, is likely about 30% to 70% more deadly than the original strain, scientists said in the study, which drew from multiple databases across the country.

Scientists had already determined that the variant was probably 30% to 70% more transmissible, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeting last month that, it “may also be associated with a higher degree of mortality.”

The new follow-up study, which assessed a larger sample size of COVID-19 patients, appeared to confirm those beliefs.

“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 concluded.

The highly transmissible form of the virus has spread to more than 80 countries, including the U.S., according to reports.

Colorado was the first U.S. state to identify the mutation. It has since been found in New York, California, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Utah, among others.

After administering him with oxygen, County of Los Angeles paramedics load a potential COVID-19 patient in the ambulance before transporting him to a hospital in Hawthorne, California on December 29, 2020. (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that more than 50 cases of the mutated coronavirus strain have been identified across the U.S.

That figure has since exceeded 70 cases and experts have cautioned how the variant is likely already widespread across the country.

“These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19,” according to 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.”

Experts believe exiting coronavirus vaccines will work against the variant — although further studies are working to confirm that assumption, the CDC added.

In the meantime, “rigorous and increased compliance with public health mitigation strategies, such as vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine, is essential to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and protect public health,” the agency continued.

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