The new COVID-19 strain spreading throughout the United Kingdom and forcing several countries to shut travel to the island nation, might be in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Fauci told PBS News that he assumes the UK’s strain is already in the US because of international travel between the two countries. (RELATED: Don’t Be Alarmed About The New Coronavirus Strain In Britain, Experts Say)
The new #coronavirus strain transmits more easily than the previous variant, but there is no evidence that it is more likely to cause severe disease or mortality.— Public Health England (@PHE_uk) December 22, 2020
Keep up with the latest… We’ll be updating this Q&A as more is found out: https://t.co/FI0FOs4Whg
When asked Monday by Judy Woodruff of PBS about whether he thinks the vaccine is in the US, Dr. Fauci replied: “When you see something that is pretty prevalent in a place like the UK — there are also mutations that we’re seeing in South Africa — and given the travel throughout the world, I would not be surprised if it is already here. When we start to look for it, we’re going to find it.”
“Certainly, it is not yet the prevalent one, the way it seems to have assumed that prevalent nature in the UK. But we’re going to be looking for it right now, and I’m sure, sooner or later, we’re going to run into it and find it,” he continued.
Nevertheless, Fauci added that, in his opinion, it would be “premature” to impose “draconian” bans for UK-US travel; instead, he suggested, testing travelers for COVID-19 “24, 34, or 76 hours” before boarding US-bound planes in Great Britain.
Over 40 countries have shut their borders to British travelers due to growing fears about a new coronavirus strain.
“Initial analysis suggests that this variant is growing faster than the existing variants,” Matt Hancock, the UK’s Health Secretary, said on December 14, according to The Telegraph.
However, according to several experts, including World Health Organization officials, the new, highly-contagious COVID-19 mutation that has emerged in the United Kingdom lately shouldn’t be a cause of significant concern.