US confirms first case of new COVID strain first identified in UK

ELBERT COUNTY, Colo. — The U.S. has now confirmed its first case of the new COVID-19 strain originally identified in the U.K.

Colorado State Laboratory confirmed and notified the Center for Disease Control of the case. The individual is a male in his 20s,  currently in isolation in Elbert County, and has no travel history.

“There is a lot we don’t know about this new COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said Tuesday.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement that this new strain, referred to as SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012-01, could be as much as 70% more transmissible than the original strain. Preliminary analysis of the mutated strain suggests it may be the culprit behind Britain’s recent spike in cases.

The CDC said earlier in December that this new strain could already be circulating unknowingly in the U.S. President Trump’s coronavirus vaccine czar, Moncef Slaoui, said earlier this month that the Pfizer and Moderna shots should be effective against different variants of the virus.

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