COVID-19

New coronavirus variant worries health officials

There's a new strain of the COVID virus raging through the U.K. that has U.S. experts worried about the potential for rising infection rates here.

A new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 has led to new lockdowns in the U.K. Though all viruses – including the coronavirus – are constantly mutating, this particular variation has many worried about the possibility of rising infections in the U.S.

What it is: Called the B.1.1.7 variant, scientists have been tracking this new strain of the coronavirus since September. Unlike other mutations of the coronavirus, this one seems to be more easily transmissible and more able to cause problems in younger people.

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Because of how new it is, there is scant data on it. The BBC reports that about a quarter of new cases in November were of the new strain. That increased to two-thirds by mid-December.

That’s why many countries – not including the U.S. – have enacted some form of ban on travel from the U.K.

You can read more on the BBC.

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