The new coronavirus strain has been discovered in Canada as public health leaders warn that the US could detect the more contagious variant.
Two cases of the Sars-Cov-2 variant first followed in the UK were identified in Canada on Saturday after being found in countries across Europe, in Japan and in Australia. The Canadian patients did not travel to the UK, which is likely to spread the new strain in the community.
Dr Barbara Yaffe, medical director for health in Ontario, said the discovery “reinforces the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible” as the Canadian province began a strike on Saturday.
The new strain – which some scientists fear could be up to 70 percent more transmissible – has not yet been discovered in the US, prompting the Trump administration to test visitors from the UK from Monday.
But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that the country has not done enough genetic sequencing of the virus to make sure it is not already in circulation.
“Given the small fraction of U.S. infections that are consecutive, the variant may already be in the United States without being detected,” the agency said on its website.
The U.S. only set up the virus, which infected about 51,000 cases out of the 17 million people who had positive Covid-19 test results, the CDC said. In contrast, the UK conducted much more extensive genomic surveys and, according to the latest analysis by Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium, which used data up to mid-November, compiled almost 10 per cent of all positive tests.
Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Georgetown University, said the travel restrictions were “too little too late”.
“It’s likely that this variant is already here and we just haven’t found it yet,” she tweeted. ‘Why? The dire state of genomic surveillance in the US. This is a major weakness that we need to address. ”
The new variant of the virus appears in late September in Kent in the southeast of England. By the week ending December 9, it was 62 per cent of infections in London.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading doctor in infectious diseases in the USA, said that mutations are always ‘worrying’, but he tried to soothe the American public by saying that there is no evidence that it can lead to a more serious disease. not.
‘The other thing is that it escapes the protection caused by the vaccines we currently use? “And according to our British colleagues, that does not seem to be the case,” he told CNNs. State of the Union on Sunday.