BREAKING NEWS: UK ‘super-Covid’ is Now DOMINANT in the US, CDC says

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The UK’s ‘super Covid’ variant is now the dominant form of coronavirus in the U.S., White House officials revealed on Wednesday. 


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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr Rochelle Walensky announced that the variant has now been found in all 50 U.S. states and two territories. It is now the most prevalent form of the virus ‘period,’ Dr Walensky said. 

The CDC predicted in January that the ‘super-covid’ B117 variant that emerged in the U.S. would be dominant in the U.S. by March, but as vaccinations accelerated the variant spread more slowly than predicted. 

B117 is thought to be between 50 and 70 percent more infectious and up to 64 percent deadlier than previously dominant strains of the virus. 

But it does not seem to weaken vaccines, unlike less common variants that emerged in South Africa and Brazil.  

CDC’s tracking reports just 16,275 confirmed cases of the UK variant, in addition to 386 cases of the South African B1351 variant and 356 cases of Brazil’s P1 variant. 

But those are undoubtedly underestimates. It’s unclear what the basis for CDC’s determination was, but tracking from suggests that B117 accounted for 38 percent of U.S. cases by April 2. 

It comes as the U.S. sees a worrisome rise in Covid cases, most of which are in five states.  

Nearly half of new coronavirus infections nationwide are in just five states – a situation that is putting pressure on the federal government to consider changing how it distributes vaccines by sending more doses to hot spots.

New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey together reported 44 percent of the nation’s new COVID-19 infections, or nearly 197,500 new cases, in the latest available seven-day period, according to state health agency data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has blamed the rise of cases in Michigan largely on the state’s high prevalence of the UK variant there. 

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The UK’s ‘super Covid’ variant is now the dominant form of coronavirus in the U.S., White House officials revealed on Wednesday

And Minnesota officials are now warning the state is poised to follow the alarming trends seen in nearby Michigan.  

Total US infections during the same week numbered more than 452,000. To date, the US has recorded more than 30.8 million cases and 556,509 deaths. 

Average daily new cases are hovering around 65,000 in the US – up from the 2021 low of 53,000 cases a day seen week before last. 

Encouragingly, deaths remain below 1,000, with 915 new fatalities recorded Tuesday. But the seven-day rolling average of new fatalities rose slightly for the first time in a week, to 790.  

Dr Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that he believes the rapid U.S. vaccination campaign – which is now administering an average of three million shots a day – will stem the increasing infections and prevent a fourth wave of the pandemic.  

The heavy concentration of new cases in states that account for 22 percent of the US population has prompted some experts and elected officials to call for President Joe Biden’s administration to ship additional vaccine doses to those places. 

So far, the White House has shown no signs of shifting from its policy of dividing vaccine doses among states based on population.

New York had the highest number of new cases over the latest seven day period with  53,088

Michigan recorded 46,879 new cases in the week ended Tuesday. The seven-day average of daily new infections reached 6,719 on Sunday – more than double what it was two weeks earlier

Florida recorded 38,421 new cases in the week ended Tuesday. The state’s seven-day average of daily new infections has exceeded 5,400, an increase of 20 percent in the past two weeks

Pennsylvania recorded 29,458 new infections in the week ended Tuesday

New Jersey recorded 28,592 new infections in the week ended Tuesday. The state’s seven-day rolling average of daily new infections has risen over the past two weeks


Sending extra doses to places where infection numbers are climbing makes sense, said Dr Elvin H Geng, a professor in infectious diseases at Washington University.

But it’s also complicated. States that are more successfully controlling the virus might see less vaccine as a result.

‘You wouldn’t want to make those folks wait because they were doing better,’ Geng said. ‘On the other hand, it only makes sense to send vaccines to where the cases are rising.’

The spike in cases has been especially pronounced in Michigan, where the seven-day average of daily new infections reached 6,719 cases Sunday – more than double what it was two weeks earlier. 

And at least four hospitals in central Michigan have fewer than 10 percent of their hospital beds available amid the rise in Covid cases – and the latest wave of patients is younger and healthier, doctors told CNN.  

Only New York reported higher case numbers. And California and Texas, which have vastly larger populations than Michigan, are reporting less than half its number of daily infections.

Though Michigan has seen the highest rate of new infections in the past two weeks, Democratic Gov Gretchen Whitmer has said she does not plan to tighten restrictions. 

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She has blamed the virus surge on pandemic fatigue, which has people moving about more, as well as more contagious variants.

‘Taking steps back wasn’t going to fix the issue,’ Whitmer said as she got her first vaccine Tuesday at Ford Field in Detroit, home of the NFL’s Lions. 

‘What we have to do is really put our foot down on the pedal on vaccines’ and urge people to wear masks, keep their social distance and wash their hands, she added

Whitmer got the shot the day after Michigan expanded eligibility to everyone 16 and older. She asked the White House last week during a conference call with governors whether it has considered sending extra vaccine to states battling virus surges. She was told all options were on the table.

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The heavy concentration of new cases in states that account for 22 percent of the US population has prompted some experts and elected officials to call for President Joe Biden’s administration to ship additional vaccine doses to those places

Michigan falls in 31st place in the U.S. for getting its residents at least one dose of Covid vaccine. 

Nearly 32 percent of Michiganders have had one or more doses, and the state has used more than 73 percent of its vaccine supply. 

It is giving about 87,000 shots a day, according to Bloomberg tracking. 

That lags behind most of the nation, with about 49,000 dose administered per 100,000 people in the state. 

But with 67,000 doses of vaccine delivered to the state per 100,000, Michigan’s allocations are about on part with New York’s, Pennsylvania’s or Florida’s. 

Both New York and Pennsylvania have gotten more of those shots into arms, however. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday that it will allocate $90.2 million to Michigan in an effort to speed up the vaccination effort there.

‘This investment will support state and local health departments and community-based organizations as they work on the front lines to increase vaccine access, acceptance, and uptake,’ said CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky. 

About 75 percent of that funding will go to efforts to improve access to vaccines for people of color, supporting local heath departments and community health centers. 

These programs could offer anything from door-to-door visits to assist with scheduling vaccination program and hiring people to inform non-English speakers about vaccination. 

In New York City, vaccination appointments are still challenging to get. Mayor Bill de Blasio has publicly harangued the federal government about the need for a bigger vaccine allotment almost daily, a refrain he repeated when speaking to reporters Tuesday.

‘We still need supply, supply, supply,’ de Blasio said, before adding: ‘But things are really getting better.’

On the state level, Gov Andrew Cuomo has not called publicly for an increase in New York´s vaccine allotment, even as cases ticked up in recent weeks and the number of hospitalized people hit a plateau.

In New Jersey, where the seven-day rolling average of daily new infections has risen over the past two weeks, from 4,050 daily cases to 4,250, Democratic Gov Phil Murphy said he is constantly talking to the White House about demand for the coronavirus vaccine, though he stopped short of saying he was lobbying for more vaccines because of the state´s high infection rate.

Vaccine shipments to New Jersey were up 12 percent in the last week, Murphy said Monday, though he questioned whether that’s enough.

‘We constantly look at, okay, we know we’re going up, but are we going up at the rate we should be, particularly given the amount of cases we have?’ Murphy said.

New virus variants are clearly one of the drivers in the increase, said Dr Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California at San Francisco. 

Failure to suppress the rise in cases will lead to more people getting sick and dying, she said, and drive increases in other parts of the country.

‘More vaccine needs to be where the virus is,’ Bibbins-Domingo said, adding that people should get over the ‘scarcity mindset’ that has them thinking surging vaccine into one place will hurt people elsewhere.

In Florida, relaxed safeguards during a busy spring break season likely helped spread virus variants, said University of South Florida epidemiologist Jason Salemi. 

The state’s seven-day average of daily new infections has exceeded 5,400, an increase of 20 percent in the past two weeks.

While many new infections appear to be among younger people, Salemi said he’s worried about Florida’s seniors. 

About 78 percent of residents age 65 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, but roughly one million more still have not gotten any shots.

‘We seemingly have the supply,’ Salemi said. ‘Are these people not planning to get vaccinated?’

Talk of sending extra shots to some states comes at a time when the number of daily infections in the US has fallen dramatically compared to a January spike following the holiday season. However, the seven-day average of daily infections been rising slowly since mid-March.

The five states seeing the most infections stand out. As of Tuesday, 31 US states were reporting seven-day averages of fewer than 1,000 new daily cases.

White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said Tuesday more than 28 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered to states this week. That allocation will bring the US total to more than 90 million doses distributed in the past three weeks.

The news came as Biden announced more than 150 million coronavirus shots have been administered since he took office, and that all adults will be eligible to receive a vaccine by April 19.

About 40 percent of US adults have now received at least one COVID-19 shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

About 23 percent of American adults have been fully vaccinated – including more than half of Americans 65 and older.

Geng said the nation should take a step back and go slow. Even just a few more weeks of Americans sticking with social distancing and other precautions could make a huge difference.

‘The take-home message here is, let’s not jump the gun,’ Geng said. ‘There’s light at the end of the tunnel. We all see it there. And we will get there. Slow and steady.’

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