The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a Jan. 15 update that a “more highly transmissible variant of COVID-19 has been detected in 10 U.S. states.”
Modeling data indicates it has the potential to increase the pandemic trajectory in the upcoming months.
The summary of the update states that the increased transmissibility warrants universal and increased compliance with mitigation strategies — including distancing and masking.
“Higher vaccination coverage might need to be achieved to protect the public,” the report states.
The United Kingdom reported concern of the variant on Dec. 14, 2020. As of Jan. 13, approximately 76 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been detected in 10 states.
It is believed that the variant will become the predominant strain in March.
“Increased SARS-CoV-2 transmission might threaten strained health care resources, require extended and more rigorous implementation of public health strategies and increase the percentage of population immunity required for pandemic control,” the report states.
The report acknowledges that the prevalence of B.1.1.7 in the United States is unknown.