Colorado Has Found First Case of U.K. Covid Variant, Governor Says

Colorado has confirmed the first reported U.S. case of the Covid-19 variant that emerged in the U.K.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been advised of the case by the state’s health department. Cases involving the new strain have been identified in more than a dozen countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Singapore and South Korea.

Last week, the CDC said the variant was probably already in the U.S., noting that only about 51,000 of the 17 million U.S. cases had been sequenced in a way that would allow discovery of the new strain.

Preliminary analysis has suggested the variant is 56% to 70% more transmissible than other strains and is contributing to a spike in cases in the U.K. It is not considered to be more deadly. The individual in Colorado is a male in his 20s, who is now in isolation and has no history of travel, the governor said in a statement released via Twitter.

“There is a lot we don’t know about this new Covid variant,” Polis said in the statement. “The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all Covid-19 indicators.”

On Dec. 24, the Trump Administration said it was requiring passengers flying from the U.K. to show proof of a negative test for coronavirus. Regions from Hong Kong to Canada have temporarily suspended travel from the U.K.

The new variant was responsible for 62% of Covid-19 infections in London in the week ending Dec. 9, up from 28% in early November, according to Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at theUniversity of East Anglia’s Norwich School of Medicine. Vaccine developers have said they believe their shots will protect against the variant.

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