Story at a glance

  • Health officials said the man is currently in isolation.
  • No close contacts of the man have been identified at this time, but health officials said they are working to identify other potential cases through contact tracing.
  • The variant appears to be more contagious.

A new and potentially more contagious strain of the coronavirus that was originally discovered in the United Kingdom has officially been identified in the United States. 

Colorado officials on Tuesday said the variant, B.1.1.7, was identified in a man in his 20s who has no history of travel. Officials said the man is currently quarantined in Elbert County, about an hour and a half south of Denver, and will remain in isolation until he’s cleared by health officials. 


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No close contacts of the man have been identified at this time, but health officials said they are working to identify other potential cases through contact tracing. 

“There is a lot we don’t know about this new COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely, ” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday. 

The new strain identified in the U.K. this month has been found in at least 17 different countries, including Canada, Australia and South Korea.

While the variant appears to be more contagious, health experts and researchers have said it does not seem to be any deadlier, and there’s no evidence current coronavirus vaccines would be less effective. 

A study published last week, that has yet to be peer-reviewed, estimated the strain is 56 percent more transmissible. 

The discovery of the variant in the U.S. is no surprise. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said the strain may already be circulating in the U.S., while prominent infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci said last week Americans should assume the U.K. strain is already in the country.


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Published on Dec 29, 2020