The likelihood of testing individuals before they board a plane to the US is under active consideration
The UK variant of the coronavirus may already be in the US, according to the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci. He has, however, cautioned against overreacting to the new strain and against a temporary travel ban in response.
“When you have this amount of spread within a place like the UK, you really need to assume that it’s here already. It may not, and certainly it’s not the dominant strain, but I would not be surprised at all if it was already here,” Dr Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) told ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’.
Other scientists agree. “If I had to guess, I would say it’s probably in hundreds of people by now. It’s very possible it’s arrived multiple times in multiple places,” Michael Worobey, head of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, told CNN. Worobey as well as Trevor Bedford, associate professor in the vaccine and infectious disease division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, estimate that the UK variant may have arrived in the US in mid-November.
Dr Scott Gottlieb, former head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), also believes that the UK strain is already in the US. He does not think that a travel ban, at this point, will prevent “this mutated strain from coming into the US”. “As the virus continues to spread around the world, we’re going to start to see more of these variants, and that’s why it’s important to get the population vaccinated and snuff out these infections. The more infections you have, the more chances that these variants start to propagate,” Gottlieb told CNBC.
Some countries have announced travel bans to and from the UK while scientists work to better understand the new variant. According to Dr Fauci, a travel ban may be ‘premature’ in light of coronavirus mutation. “I don’t think that there is enough evidence right now to essentially lock down any travel from the UK, but seriously to consider the possibility that you might want to require people who are coming here to be tested within a period of time, you know, 24, 34, or 76 hours before they get on a plane to come to the US,” he said during ‘PBS Newshour’.
Dr Fauci reiterated his position at the ABC program. “Travel bans are really draconian things to do. There is certain consideration throughout about the possibility, and maybe the likelihood, of requiring the testing of individuals before they board a plane to the US.. Brinkwire Brief News.