U.K. variant has become most dominant COVID-19 strain in United States

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The COVID-19 variant that originated in the United Kingdom now is responsible for the majority of new COVID cases.

New data from the CDC shows that the UK variant cases more than doubled from late February, going from 11 percent to 27 percent. Also this week, five new cases of a double mutant coronavirus strain were reported in San Francisco. Although the variants are more infectious, all three mainstream vaccines in the U.S. are showing to be protective against them.

“We still see decrease in hospitalizations in those who are vaccinated, so although it’s still preliminary information it does seem the vaccine protects you from these variants,” said Dr. Esteban DelPilar, Infectious Disease Physician for Baystate Health.

The Brazilian strain is the most common variant in Massachusetts, and when it comes to how this one and others affect us, it’s pretty much the same as the original COVID-19 strain. The only difference being more young people are contracting the variants.

“You can get shortness of breath, fever, chills,” said Dr. Esteban DelPilar, Infectious Disease Physician for Baystate Health. “The only thing is, we are seeing younger people getting it and we think the variants are playing into this.”

An increase in travel and relaxing on COVID-19 restrictions are to blame for rising variant case numbers with the younger population. Adults 16 and older are also not eligible to receive the vaccine yet in Massachusetts.

That’ll change April 19 when the state moves to the final phase of the vaccination plan. As of now, nearly half of all U.S. adults have had at least their first dose of the vaccine.

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