More contagious COVID variant - B.1.1.7. - now dominant strain in U.S., CDC says
The British B.1.1.7 strain is now the most popular COVID-19 strain in the United States.
A highly infectious variant of COVID-19 is now the dominant strain of the virus in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The variant, B.1.1.7, began surging in the United Kingdom in December has since spread through Europe and to the United States, the federal agency said Wednesday.
"Based on our most recent estimates from CDC surveillance, the B.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States," agency Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at the White House briefing.
Studies found the virus is 60 times more contagious than the current strain and 67 percent more deadly, according to the New York Times.
In March, experts warned the variant would be the dominant strain by the end of the month. Now early into April, the CDC confirmed the hypothesis, according to CNN.
Medical company Helix found that 58.9 percent of all new tests of COVID-19 were the new B.1.1.7 strain. Trends from Felix show that California and Florida have the two highest rates in the U.S. with 533 and 445 cases, respectively.