A new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus first detected in the UK is likely to fuel an outbreak of cases in the spring, several experts predicted Tuesday.
The variant, called B.1.1.7, was suspected of causing further spread in Britain. This has been seen across much of the United States – the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the variant accounts for more than 1,880 cases in 45 states.
The variant could “result in more than one wave” around April or May, said Trevor Bedford of the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
So how can the United States prevent the alleged spring surge? Some experts said on Tuesday that the best way to get ahead of the outbreak was with vaccination.
Bedford, who has been closely monitoring the rise of newer coronavirus variants, predicted that vaccination and mitigation efforts, such as the use of masks and continued social distancing, will help prevent the virus from spreading more.
“I still suspect that things will be brought under control this summer and that there will be very few viruses circulating,” he said.
It’s possible, however, that a new wave could start in the fall, according to Bedford.
The race for vaccination: More than 44.5 million people have received at least one dose of their two-dose vaccines, according to CDC data Tuesday. About 19.8 million have been fully immunized with both doses, the CDC said – about 6% of the U.S. population.
One dose of vaccine * might * be enough for some, says the NIH director: It is possible that a single dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will be sufficient for those who have already been infected with the coronavirus – but more research will be needed to show it, wrote on Tuesday the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr Francis. Collins in a blog post. .
Learn more about the situation in the United States: