Health authorities are still learning about the new coronavirus variants, and whether current health measures are as effective against them -- but data suggests that the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the UK, may be deadlier than the original strand.
"We know that some of the variants have increased transmissibility, there's increasing data that suggests that some of the variants, the B.1.1.7 variant may actually ... lead to increased mortality, and the jury's still out with regard to how these vaccines are going to work with against these variants," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on MSNBC Wednesday.
"We'd have to ... follow the science, and we are learning more and more about whether our public health measures, our mitigation measures, our mask wearing, our distancing, will be fully effective against these variants, but we have every reason to believe that they will."
Walensky added that as authorities examine more people infected by the variants, they are finding that those people are typically not wearing masks or social distancing. "What we know is that they'll (variants) probably be less forgiving when we don't follow that guidance," she said.