The CDC is warning the UK variant of the coronavirus, which has been shown to be a lot more transmissible, will become the dominant strain in the U.S. within the next several weeks.
“The modeled trajectory of this variant in the U.S. exhibits rapid growth in early 2021, becoming the predominant variant in March,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states in their weekly report.
Because of this, the agency is urging “universal and increased compliance with mitigation strategies, including distancing and masking.”
The CDC says the increased transmissibility could threaten an already strained health care system, require “rigorous” public health strategies to be extended, and increase the percentage of the population needing immunity before the pandemic is controlled.
“A higher rate of transmission will lead to more cases, increasing the number of persons overall who need clinical care, exacerbating the burden on an already strained health care system, and resulting in more deaths,” the CDC report states.
The CDC's models show whether or not the rate of vaccination is increased, the UK strain will still overtake other strains in the U.S. in March.
The UK variant, identified as B.1.1.7, has now been recorded in 76 patients in ten states.
In addition to masking, washing hands and social distancing, the CDC is recommending “strategic testing of persons without symptoms but at a higher risk of infection,” including those who have been exposed to someone who tests positive for the coronavirus or someone who has frequent contact with the public.
In a recent study, CDC researchers found nearly 60 percent of all coronavirus transmission came from asymptomatic spread, comprising 35 percent from people who are presymptomatic or are infectious before developing symptoms, and 24 percent from people who never develop symptoms.
These findings back up health experts’ advice that people should behave as if they are infectious, no matter how they feel; including wearing masks and remaining socially distant from people whenever possible.