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  • “Public health authorities in Colorado detected a variant that was first identified in the UK, in a person who reported no travel history, the lack of reported travel history suggests this variant has been transmitting from person to person in the United States,” Henry Walke, COVID-19 incident manager with the CDC, said during a briefing Wednesday, according to CNN.
  • Walke said the new and potentially more contagious strain could lead to more cases and strain the already “heavily burdened health care systems” in the U.S.
  • Officials said a possible second case is under investigation in Colorado.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday said the new strain of COVID-19 originally discovered in the United Kingdom and now reported in Colorado has likely been spreading undetected in the U.S. 

“Public health authorities in Colorado detected a variant that was first identified in the UK, in a person who reported no travel history, the lack of reported travel history suggests this variant has been transmitting from person to person in the United States,” Henry Walke, COVID-19 incident manager with the CDC, said during a briefing Wednesday, according to CNN


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Walke said the new and potentially more contagious strain could lead to more cases and strain the already “heavily burdened health care systems” in the U.S. 

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.

Colorado officials on Tuesday reported the first known case of the variant in the U.S. and said on Wednesday a possible second case is under investigation. Both the confirmed and possible cases are National Guard members who had been sent to work at a Good Samaritan Society nursing home in Simla, Colo., that was experiencing an outbreak. 

The new variant has yet to be detected among residents in the nursing home, and it’s unclear if the two men contracted the virus while working at the facility. 

Both National Guard members are currently in isolation and officials are conducting contact tracing. Neither of the two traveled out of the country recently. Officials said it could take up to a week to confirm the second possible case. 


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Published on Dec 30, 2020