Monday, September 25, 2023

CDC warns that more infectious variant of Covid-19 could dominate United States by March

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The new variant of coronavirus first discovered in the UK could become the predominant strain in the US by March, according to a new model from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC warned on Friday that the B.1.1.7 variant was likely to spread rapidly in the United States in the coming months. So far, 76 cases have been identified in 10 US states, but scientists warn that the actual number of B. 1.17 cases is likely higher, as the US lags many other countries with its genomic sequencing to identify the variants.

the CDC is now trying to extend the sequencing to follow the variant and other possible mutations.

According to the CDC model, the new strain is likely to overtake other variants of the disease and dominate by March – although the trajectory of cases will depend on the pace of vaccinations and other mitigation measures people take, such as than wearing masks.

The United States has already been affected far more by Covid-19 than any other country. There were 3,915 deaths recorded in the United States on Thursday, according to the latest data of the Covid Tracking Project, bringing the total death toll to 379,451. Nearly 129,000 people are currently hospitalized with the virus.

The CDC model found that if there were no vaccines and the spread of the virus continued to accelerate, the number of cases would continue to rise throughout the spring, not peaking until April.

Assuming the United States is able to immunize 1 million people per day, however, the number of new cases will slowly decline until at least May. If mitigation measures slow the spread enough that each infected person infects an average of 0.9 other people, the number of cases could drop as much as 85% by the summer.

“Now more than ever, it’s important to slow the spread,” the CDC warned.

Joe Biden, US President-elect, gave more details on his Coronavirus pandemic response plans on Friday, as he prepares to take office next week, with deaths and hospitalizations from the outbreak in the United States approaching records. He has promised to oversee the 100m vaccinations in his first 100 days.

The plan includes new rules that would allow retired medical professionals to administer doses as part of an effort to increase the number of people getting vaccinations. He would also use members of the National Guard to help administer the vaccine and train people to administer it, although he stops before asking the troops to inject people themselves, as has asked a health care provider this week.

Mr Biden also pledged to use the Defense Production Act, under which the government can force companies to produce certain items, to address bottlenecks in the manufacturing process, such as lack of of glass vials.

The president-elect on Friday morning appointed new members of his coronavirus task force, including David Kessler, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, who will lead the new administration’s efforts to distribute vaccines.

As the task force’s chief scientific adviser, Dr. Kessler will help lead Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s vaccine distribution program. He will replace Moncef Slaoui, the former GlaxoSmithKline framework.

Dr. Kessler led the FDA from 1990 to 1997, under Presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton.

Mr Biden said in a statement, “We are in a race against time and we need a comprehensive strategy to quickly contain this virus.”


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