CHICAGO, Jan. 15 (Reuters) — A new, more transmissible variant of the coronavirus first discovered in Britain has been detected in 10 U.S. states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday, warning that it could become the dominant circulating variant in the United States by March.
The variant, known as B.1.1.7, is believed to be twice as transmissible as the current version of the virus circulating in the United States.
Its rapid spread will increase the burden on health resources at a time when infections are surging, further sapping strained healthcare resources and increasing the need for better adherence to mitigation strategies, such as social-distancing and mask-wearing, the CDC said in its weekly report on death and disease.
It also increases the percentage of the population that needs to be vaccinated to achieve protective herd immunity to control the pandemic, the CDC said.
(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen Editing by Paul Simao)