The new mutated strain of the Coronavirus that was recently discovered in the United Kingdom was found in a Colorado resident with no travel history, officials confirmed on Tuesday.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced that the state identified the case in a man in his 20s with no recent travel history. It’s the first known infection from the newly identified strain in the U.S., and most experts say it’s likely that more will follow.
The new variant, named VUI-202012/01, has been found to have a collection of mutations in its genetic code.It “has been predicted that these changes have the potential to make the virus more rapidly transmissible,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said a week ago that the mutant variant was likely already in the U.S., but added that the two vaccines now being distributed across the country should still be effective.
The first Canadian cases of the new strain were discovered last week. The man in Colorado and the Ontario couple who tested positive also had no travel history.
The variant has been identified in more than a dozen other countries, including Japan, Denmark, South Korea and Canada. It’s likely that the variant is already spreading in the U.S., Griffin said.
“I’m sure it’s already spreading here and we just don’t know it yet,” said Griffin, who called for better monitoring of the virus’s evolution as part of a committee for the National Academy of Sciences. “That’s the reason we really tried to push the U.S. to have a better surveillance system, so that we are constantly monitoring what the virus is doing here and so that we would see when a new version arrived.“
Scientists are racing to uncover more details about the new variants, experts say it’s more important than ever to follow public health guidelines.