In the United States, approximately 76 cases involving the new variant B.1.1.7 have been diagnosed so far in 10 US states. According to the CDC, although there is no evidence that this variant causes serious illness, it is more transmissible than other strains of the virus and therefore can spread much more easily. It could thus become the most dominant variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by March .
Also according to the CDC, the expected outbreak of this variant is particularly worrying, as it will be associated with an increase in the number of cases and therefore cases of hospitalization and death. According to one model, it will only be after B.1.1.7 becomes the dominant variant in circulation that the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines will significantly reduce the transmission of the virus.
In the meantime, the rapid spread of this variant may pose a threat to strained health care resources and would require more rigorous and prolonged public health strategies. It will then be necessary to insist on the application of protective measures such as the wearing of masks, social distancing and respect for quarantines.
A rapid increase in the prevalence of B. 1.1.7 is expected
The current prevalence of B.1.1.7 among all SARS-COV-2 infections in the United States is 0.5%, according to a new study. But this new strain is twice as transmissible as the other variants.
A rapid increase in the prevalence of B. 1.1.7 is therefore expected at the beginning of this year, to become the predominant variant in March. According to the CDC model, the early trajectory of this variant was not altered until late by vaccine deployment, which ultimately resulted in a dramatic reduction in transmission.
And according to experts, the vaccines had dramatically high effects in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in the short term, while the rate of transmission was already declining.
According to these data, to drastically reduce the number of new cases and deaths in the coming months, universal application and strict adherence to mitigation measures and immunization are of paramount importance. In addition, it is also essential to strengthen the monitoring of the evolution of SARS-COV-2 and the research concerning the other variants which are appearing everywhere at the moment.