More Contagious COVID-19 Strain Seen Across U.S.

More states have detected the new COVID-19 strain that is said to be more contagious. This means more than 12 states in the country have identified the new strain.

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The strain, which is designated as B.1.1.7 of SARS-CoV-2, was first seen in the United Kingdom in December 2020. Officials do not believe it is not as deadly as other COVID-19 strains, but it will spread much more quickly and easily than the virus’ original strain.

Andrea Palm, DHA secretary-designee in Wisconsin, said people are aware that the COVID-19 virus spreads easily through respiratory droplets. With the new variant being even more communicable, it’s more important than ever to continue with social distancing and mask-wearing.

Ohio officials said the virus strain in their state is the same mutation found in the U.K strain but believe it mutated the spread in the U.S.

University of Michigan Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases Dr. Adam Lauring said the new virus appears to be 50 percent more contagious. He said if one person infects two people with the original coronavirus, its variant can infect three people. This leads to a rapid virus growth, he said.

Health officials are urging people to continue with their handwashing, mask-wearing and social distancing – all public health suggestions to slow the spread of COVID-19 down.

The states that have seen the new strain include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.

According to CDC Deputy Director Jay Butler, the number of states with the new strain is anticipated to rise.