The mutated COVID-19 strain from the United Kingdom has now officially made its way to the U.S. and the confirmed case points to a larger outbreak of the strain after being found in a Colorado resident with no travel history.
In response to the confirmed case, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tweeted, “Today we discovered Colorado’s first case of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the U.K. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely.”
The individual who has the confirmed case is a 20-year-old male with no travel history and has been isolated in Elbert County, which is about an hour and a half south of Denver.
The new mutation seems to be more contagious and has led more than 40 countries to restrict travel from the U.K. The new strain, referred to as SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, could be up to 70% more transmissible, according to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In a released statement, Polis said, “I want to thank our scientists and dedicated medical professionals for their swift work and ask Coloradans to continue our efforts to prevent disease transmission by wearing masks, standing six feet apart when gathering with others, and only interacting with members of their immediate household.”
Up to this point, there has not been any indication that the new variant causes a more severe illness, just that it is more contagious. Officials have said that both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID shots should be effective against the new strain.