The coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom is now the most common strain of coronavirus in the United States, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday.
“Based on our most recent estimates from CDC surveillance, the B.1.1.7 variant is now the most common lineage circulating in the United States,” Walensky said at the White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing.
Asked for clarity by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Walensky said, “It is the most common lineage, period. So there are many different lineages. Of the many different potential variants, there are several different kinds – of sort of wild type variants – and this is, in fact, the most common lineage right now.”
Studies have suggested that the UK variant is more contagious than the original strain, and is possibly more dangerous associated with a higher risk of death.
There are currently 16,275 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the United States, identified in 52 states/jurisdictions, according to the CDC.