Apr 7, 2021 - Health

CDC director: U.K. COVID variant now dominant strain in U.S.

Photo of Rochelle Walensky sitting down and speaking into a mic
Photo: Susan Walsh/Pool via Getty Images

The B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant that originated in the United Kingdom is now the most common strain in the U.S., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday at a White House briefing.

Why it matters: Studies have shown the B.1.1.7 variant is more contagious than the original strain and is associated with a higher risk of death.

  • The U.S. currently has 16,275 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, per CDC data.

The big picture: Health officials have warned people to remain vigilant about preventing the spread of COVID-19.

  • Walensky said variants like B.1.1.7 are contributing to an increase in the U.S.' daily rate of new cases over the last few weeks.

What to watch: Axios' Coronavirus Variant Tracker

Go deeper: The race between COVID vaccines and emerging variants

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