A Union Jack face mask is seen for sale in the window of a shop during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Manchester, United Kingdom, on December 26, 2020.
Phil Noble | Reuters
The first case of a new and potentially more infectious strain of Covid-19 has been confirmed in the United States, Colorado health officials said Tuesday.
The Colorado health authorities confirmed the case and notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The infected person is isolated in Elbert County, about an hour and a half south of Denver. Officials said the man, who is in his twenties, has no travel history.
“We don’t know much about this new variant of Covid-19, but scientists in the UK are warning the world it is far more contagious. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will be closely monitoring this case as well as all COVID -19 indicators are very accurate, “said Colorado Governor Jared Polis on Tuesday.
“We are working to prevent the spread and contain the virus at all levels,” Polis said, adding that public health officials were working to identify other potential cases through contact tracing interviews.
Preliminary analysis of the mutant strain, first identified in the UK, suggests that in some cases it could be the culprit for the UK’s recent surge. The new strain, known in science as SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, could be up to 70% more transmissible, said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The CDC said in December that the new strain could already be in circulation in the US without notice. The CDC cited ongoing trips between the UK and the US as an explanation for the possible arrival of the new variant.
Continue reading: 5 things to know about the spread of the new strain of Covid in the UK
The discovery of the tribe in Great Britain sparked border closings in European countries such as Ireland, France, Belgium and Germany, as well as in countries outside the continent.
The Trump administration has no plans to impose Covid-19 screenings on passengers arriving at US airports from the UK, Reuters reported, citing officials familiar with the matter.
The UK government confirms that another infectious variant of the novel coronavirus identified in South Africa has also appeared in the UK. The tribe from South Africa has not yet been identified in the USA.
President Donald Trump’s coronavirus vaccine czar Moncef Slaoui said in early December that the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 shots should be effective against new strains.