Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci has said the new coronavirus strain emerged in the U.K. is likely already in the United States.
According to a Newsweek report, the White House coronavirus task force adviser addressed the new strain on PBS NewsHour Monday. “We have to make that assumption (that it has arrived in the U.S.)” said Fauci. “When you see something that is pretty prevalent in a place like the U.K., there are also mutations that we’re seeing in South Africa, and given travel throughout the world, I would not be surprised if it’s already here. When we start to look for it we’re gonna find it.”
Fauci went on that the strain is “certainly” not the most prevalent in the U.S. “the way it seems to have assumed that prevalent nature in the U.K., but we’re going to be looking for it right now and I’m sure sooner or later we’re going to run into it and find it.”
Fauci said the strain was something to “keep an eye out on, you don’t want to just blow it off, certainly not.” He said the coronavirus that causes COVID is what is known as an RNA virus, which tends to mutate “a lot.” Most mutations are not important to how the virus functions, but the ones identified in the strain may allow it to spread more readily, he said. Scientists are still seeking evidence to prove or disprove this idea.
No evidence in Pennsylvania
Meanwhile Pennsylvania health officials said Wednesday that there is no evidence that the new coronavirus strain has found its way into the state.
Secretary of Health Dr. Levine said that the CDC is working with local health departments to start surveillance screens and to look at genetic markers to get a more accurate assessment of the strain’s presence. A report from Patch provided the data.
The state Secretary of Health stated that the CDC is working with local health departments to start surveillance screens and to look at genetic markers to get a more accurate assessment of the strain’s presence.
Levine added that the new strain “does seem more contagious,” but it is not more virulent, meaning that though it’s more easily transmitted it does not cause any more severe symptoms.