‘This fall/winter surge has been at nearly twice the rate of rise of cases as the spring/ summer surges. This acceleration suggests there may be a US variant,’ the WH task force document said
Reports that there may be a very contagious and fast-spreading coronavirus variant in the US were published by multiple media outlets on January 8. A White House document claimed that a possible new US variant, in addition to the UK strain, maybe 50% more transmissible and is already spreading in communities.
The White House report, however, does not identify a specific new strain nor confirm that one has been detected in the US. Rather, it suggests that the possibility of a new strain could potentially explain the rapid acceleration in cases in recent months.
“This fall/winter surge has been at nearly twice the rate of rise of cases as the spring and summer surges. This acceleration suggests there may be a US variant that has evolved here, in addition to the UK variant that is already spreading in our communities and maybe 50% more transmissible,” stated the White House task force document, dated January 3, 2021, which was sent to states.
According to the task force, while data reporting has been unstable for the past week, hospital reporting has been stable and the US remains at a high plateau of 140-150,000 confirmed and suspected Covid-19 admissions per week and 120-125,000 total inpatients. “Significant continued deterioration, from California across the Sunbelt and up into the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, despite low testing rates during the holidays, suggests aggressive community spread,” it warns.
The document was also posted online by the state of Kentucky, which shows that White House officials advised more stringent mitigation measures to halt a potentially more transmissible virus. “Aggressive mitigation must be used to match a more aggressive virus; without uniform implementation of effective face masking (two or three ply and well-fitting) and strict social distancing, epidemics could quickly worsen as these variants spread and become predominant,” it recommended.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has, however, emphasized that it had not seen the emergence of a new US variant of the coronavirus. It added that there may be many variants of Covid-19 across the world.
“Researchers at the CDC are monitoring all emerging variants of the coronavirus, including in 5,700 samples collected in November and December. To date, neither researchers nor analysts at CDC have seen the emergence of a particular variant in the US,” noted Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the CDC, according to a New York Times (NYT) report.
The NYT article also suggests that the task force hypothesis was. Brinkwire Brief News.